On the Frontlines at Work and at Home: The Disproportionate Economic Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Women of Color

Center for American Progress

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe. It has upended the lives of hundreds of millions of people, decimated economies, and brought the hustle and bustle of daily life to a standstill. While much of the U.S. focus has been on the erratic stock market, steep business losses, stay-at-home orders, and the scope and pace of legislative and administration responses, too little attention has been paid to the daily impacts on communities and the needs of families across the country. Women of color, in particular, play a vital role in maintaining the economic stability of their families and communities—and therefore, understanding COVID-19’s impact on this group is critical to overcoming the current crisis. Yet the public discourse about the most-needed interventions has largely overlooked the pandemic’s cascading effects on women of color, leaving them out of policy debates on what actions must be taken moving forward to sustain families while reinvigorating the economy.

Women of color often stand at the intersection of multiple barriers, experiencing the combined effects of racial, gender, ethnic, and other forms of bias while navigating systems and institutional structures in which entrenched disparities remain the status quo. Many women of color have to grapple with negative stereotypes and attitudes that affect how they are treated at work, whether they can provide care for their families, and whether they can access the quality health care that they need without bias and discrimination. Now, the aggressive spread of COVID-19 is creating new obstacles with far-reaching implications for the ability of women of color—and all individuals—to survive, thrive, and participate in an economy that works for all.

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