52. Women’s Work Part 2: The Big Fat Lie

COVID 19 has exposed the very real fact that working women depend on outside support in order to do their jobs-support that has virtually disappeared during the pandemic. The loss of childcare, school and other services has forced so very many of us to leave the workforce or at the very least, stretch ourselves WAY too thin.  Join us as we explore how to harness the power of women to make the systemic changes necessary to support all working women, during COVID and beyond. 

SHOW NOTES

In this episode of Crina and Kirsten Get Work, our dynamic duo discuss what Covid has magnified about women and work.  In short, Covid has taken its toll in so many ways – including women and their work.

In Part I of Women’s Work and Covid the focus was that “COVID-19 is hard on women because the U.S. economy is hard on women, and this virus excels at taking existing tensions and ratcheting them up.” Why has COVID-19 been especially harmful for working women?   

This is because women hold more low-wage and face to face jobs and these types of jobs were especially hit with layoffs.  Losses in child care and school hours as a result of the pandemic have and will likely lead to a significant decline in women’s total wages and an increase in women leaving the workforce.

And this whole “dealio” threatens the progress women have made in the last years.

COVID has created the perfect storm and exposed what already existed: we “let” women be successful, but only if they can simultaneously care for the children, the elderly, the husbands, the community, etc.  If you can add a shift in your day from 8pm to 3 am to get your work done, plan the team potluck or whatever, you are golden.  We all know this is unsustainable and based on the big fat lie that certain work such as caring for children, families and households is primarily the purview of women.  The paradigm is false.

There are systemic issues that create and exacerbate the work women have been shouldering, all exacerbated by COVID.  Those systemic issues include insufficient childcare, no care when children are ill, a lack of support for the elderly, lack of predictable schedules, and, oh yes, minimum wage jobs held by single women with children who could not hope to sustain their life and the life of their children on minimum wage.   None of these issues are women’s issues, they are family issues and we need to start thinking about them as such.

The solution is to change things on a federal level.  If we change things with individual employers, individual cities or states, we risk advancing some and leaving others behind.  We need a solution for everyone.  The Women’s National Law Center is an excellent place to explore solutions on the federal level.  Listeners should consider taking action to support these federal solutions on issues such as:.

Childcare

Improving the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Would Help Working Families with the High Cost of Child Care | NWLC

Regulating Schedules

National Women’s Law Center Take Action: Tell Congress to Support Fair Work Schedules (nwlc.org) – Seattle has this restriction on the ability to change schedules without notice

And don’t forget paid time off,and raising the minimum wage. And don’t forget, the best thing we can do is to support, raise up and sponsor other women – as individuals and collectively.