Article by Katica Roy at Fortune
Image by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash
The first nationwide reporting of employer-provided pay data to the U.S. government happened in September 2019. It was an opportunity to start holding companies accountable for their progress on diversity and inclusion—but the chance slipped by.
We all know what came to pass shortly thereafter. A triple crisis hit the U.S.: first the COVID-19 pandemic, then its associated economic fallout, and then police violence against Black people that sparked tremendous social upheaval, along with renewed calls for racial justice.
We are in the center of a storm in which women were (and still are) bearing the brunt of the impact: as frontline workers, as primary caregivers, and as those who lost the majority of all jobs. Yet not one penny of the over $2 trillion in economic stimulus issued to date has taken into account the pandemic’s gender-imbalanced wounds. If we don’t act now, these wounds will turn into permanent, damaging scars on our businesses, our communities, and the economy at large.
By failing to apply the gender lens to its economic stimulus packages, our government all but ignored the 16 million breadwinner moms who support 28 million children (29% of whom are Black) by contributing 50% or more of household income. It ignored the 15 million women and 12 million children who live in poverty. It ignored the 13 million women and 4.3 million children without health insurance. It neglected to take into account that women hold 70% of our nation’s lowest-paid jobs. Nor did it take into account the economic value of the second shift, which, if compensated, would see the average woman earn an extra $40,000 per year.
The result? In 12 short months, we backslid 22 years on the gender pay gap and 32 years on the labor force participation rate of women.