Mothering Justice and the National Women’s Law Center commissioned an online survey of women of color in the state of Michigan. Vision Strategy and Insights conducted the survey from May 20 to June 4, 2020. A total of 600 eligible and likely women of color voters aged 18 to 65 years and older in Michigan participated in the survey. Of the 600 respondents, 67 percent were African American/Black women and 33 percent were Latina/Hispanic, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Middle Eastern and North African women.
Women are the face of COVID-19 in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing broken social and economic systems while also deepening racial and gender inequities. In the U.S., the economic fallout is disproportionately hurting women’s economic security. According to analysis by the National Women’s Law Center, the pandemic continues to devastate women-dominated sectors like service industries, child care, hospitality, home care, and health care. June’s “recovery” is particularly fragile for women. Though women accounted for six in 10 of the jobs gained last month, the majority of jobs were in sectors likely to once again shutter due to spikes in COVID-19 cases. Moreover, women have lost over 8 million net jobs since February 2020, accounting for 55 percent of overall net job loss since the start of the pandemic. Even after June’s gains, Black women and Latinas continue to be hard hit by the economic crisis – while the overall unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% in June, approximately 1 in 7 Black women (14 percent) and Latinas (15.3 percent) remained unemployed.
Women and girls are experiencing harsher impacts across several dimensions, from diminished access to critical care services like maternal and reproductive health care to shouldering larger amounts of unpaid care work, poor or nonexistent financial assistance, and the curtailment of workplace protections. At the same time, women are the face of front-line and essential workers. Disproportionately over-represented in critical fields, women are 75 percent of hospital workers, 93 percent of child care workers, 90 percent of people employed in private homes, and two-thirds of cashiers and retail people in grocery stores. But the federal government and some states are failing to meet the needs of women during this time. Women, especially women of color, are struggling to make ends meet while forced to work on the front lines without meaningful workplace protections because most lawmakers have shown that women are not top of mind.