From work to pay, the coronavirus pandemic has damage girls
Brothers91 | E + | Getty Images
A year after the coronavirus pandemic, women are not doing well.
According to the National Women’s Rights Center, since February 2020 more than 2.3 million people have left the labor force, bringing their labor force participation levels to levels not seen since 1988. In December alone, women made up 100% of jobs lost.
Whether they got fired or had to leave to bring kids home from school, many struggle to make ends meet. One in four women is considering leaving the workforce or downgrading their careers, according to a September Women in the Workplace report by Lean In and McKinsey & Company.
The impact is far-reaching – and could widen the gender pay gap, said Emily Martin, vice president of education and justice at work at NWLC.
“Long-term unemployment and total abandonment of the workforce will certainly be reflected in wages once you are back in employment,” she said.
The headwinds against women are increasing and women are falling further and further behind.
CEO of Francis Financial
‘This is temporary’
Deborah Irlanda lost her job during the pandemic. She is now training to be a community health worker.
Source: Deborah Irlanda
Deborah Irlanda arrived in Providence, Rhode Island in 2017 with only one suitcase. She had lost everything when her home in Puerto Rico was destroyed by Hurricane Maria and she was hoping to start over.
When the pandemic broke out, Irlanda was a cook who worked full time in the cafeteria of a Rhode Island hospital as well as a local restaurant. The restaurant immediately closed its doors and her hours in the hospital were cut in half. She was unemployed until September.
Fortunately, Irlanda, 48, was able to get a $ 1,500 Covid crisis relief loan from a local community development financial institution, Capital Good Fund, to move out of her rented apartment and move in with a friend.
“This is only temporary; I can’t stay here,” said Irlanda, a single mother of two grown daughters. She is now training to be a community health worker.
Irlanda’s situation is far from unique. The gastronomy, in which the majority of employees are women, was hit by the pandemic.
“Many of the jobs that have seen the greatest job losses in Covid are where women are the majority of workers,” Martin said.
“Our income has been cut in half”
Martha Wade Chaires had to resign from work to look after her children during the pandemic.
Source: Martha Wade Chairs
For 39-year-old Martha Wade Chaires, she really had no choice but to retire from work when the pandemic broke out.
Her 5 year old son is medically fragile and has Down syndrome.
“My son’s pulmonologist called and said we had to keep him out of the world for the foreseeable future,” said the chairman.
At the time, she owned a mobile dance studio that taught pre-K students.
“Our income has basically halved,” said the chairman.
More from Invest in You:
Black women are shouldering the brunt of the financial pain caused by the pandemic: survey
How to increase your income and find creative ways to make money
Men were promoted three times more often than women during the pandemic
“We were very, very tight on our spending,” she added. “We only buy groceries and gasoline.
“I’ll worry when we go back to the world.”
Women are the ones who typically step back from work during a nursing crisis, Martin said.
Not only are gender roles generally unequal at home, women still have the lion’s share of family care, but women tend to earn less than men.
“The headwinds against women are mounting and women are falling further behind,” said certified financial planner Stacy Francis, president and CEO of Francis Financial, a New York-based wealth management practice providing services to women.
What can be done
Luis Alvarez | DigitalVision | Getty Images
This is an important moment for policy makers and employers to find out how they will react to the fact that workers are being stretched more than ever to meet family care and work responsibilities, Martin said.
That means paid vacation, paid sick days, support for pregnant workers and better and more affordable childcare, she explained.
“One of the things I worry about is the deepening of stereotypes that mothers are not reliable employees in the face of a crisis that is making it very difficult than ever to be a primary caregiver for children and a perfect clerk” said Martin.
“I wonder if we will emerge from this when employers have a new distrust of parents as employees – especially mothers – or if the policy is stronger so that people can do both.”
In the meantime, women and partners can talk to them about a fairer distribution of childcare and household chores.
To bridge the retirement pension gap, you may need to change your mindset if you still have an income, said Francis, a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.
“We often see that women tend to be a little more conservative than men with investment portfolios,” she said. “Unfortunately that can bring us back further.”
The easiest thing to do is to find a percentage of your income that you want to save. While most financial advisors recommend 15% to 20% of your after-tax paycheck, start with what you can do. As you get increases over the course of your career, you can increase them.
If you have no income, your goal should be to stay away from high-yield credit card debt.
“As the covid dust settles, we will see the number of debts carried by women increase,” Francis said.
“We’re not seeing all of the effects of Covid right now,” she added. “We’ll see it in about a year.”
SIGN IN: Money 101 is an 8-week financial freedom learning course delivered to your inbox weekly.
CHECK: Here is the credit score you will need in order to over buy a home Grow with acorns + CNBC.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.