#ChooseToChallenge • Coronaversary • Self-care
Jobs? Monday was International Women’s Day and the theme for 2021 was #choosetochallenge to raise awareness about the systemic barriers to economic and social opportunities. These barriers have many names like the glass ceiling, bamboo ceiling, glass cliff, double-jeopardy, likeability trap, … you get the picture. And no, it’s not about whether womxn can have it all. Womxn encounter barriers in their career, home, and politics. When it comes to careers, these barriers have steepened because of the pandemic, especially for those who are at the intersections of marginalized identities and statuses such as race, socioeconomic class, and disability.
- McKinsey & Company stated that the COVID-19 jobs crisis could set women back half a decade.
- As of last month, there were 1.8 million less men vs. 2.3 million less women in the U.S. workforce compared to February of last year.
- Women accounted for 100% of the jobs that were lost in December 2020.
- Roughly 40% of women ages 20 and older have been unemployed for 6 months or longer.
- Asian women account for the highest rates of long-term unemployment (44%), followed by 40.8% of Black women and 38.3% of Latinas.
- There are 10% fewer employed Black women in the labor force than a year ago, representing the largest change in employment out of all groups.
These surveys do not include information about LGBTQ populations. The Center for American Progress found that over 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans experienced discrimination last year. The rate was even higher for transgender Americans, which was 1 in 5. They also cited a study by the Human Rights Campaign and PSB Research that found that transgender people of color were over-represented among workers who had their hours and wages reduced. They were also the most likely to become unemployed.
The data is also sparse among those with disabilities. The December 2020 report from the Department of Labor showed that the unemployment rate among workers with a disability was almost twice as high as the general population. Most people with a disability are older workers. Workers ages 55 and older were 17% more likely to lose their jobs than younger workers.
Inclusive and equitable recovery. COVID-19 has laid bare the extreme inequities in American society and the only way to recover from this crisis is to rebuild together. Our nation’s population is getting older which means increasingly female, in addition to more diverse including by race-ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. We cannot achieve a strong recovery if we do not challenge the existing paradigm and continue to exclude the growing majority of the population.
A year of COVID-19. President Biden will address the nation tomorrow, which marks the 1-year anniversary of the day that the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Since the first case was identified in the U.S., we’ve lost around 525,000 lives and over 29 million have been infected. Globally, we’ve recorded over 2.6 million confirmed deaths from the coronavirus. On the brighter side, we’ve also managed to produce 3 effective vaccines and we’ve vaccinated nearly 10% of the population in less than a year, making this the fastest vaccine rollout in history.
Easing coronavirus restrictions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given the green light on previously restricted activities, if you’re fully vaccinated. This includes spending time indoors, without masks, with unvaccinated people from one household who are at low risk of severe disease if they contract COVID-19. People who have been vaccinated also face less restrictions when traveling internationally. Many countries will begin issuing vaccine passports. Israel is among the first countries to do so.
Keep in mind that you are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving the second dose of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s vaccine or two weeks after receiving the single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s.
The here and now. Many people are anxiously preparing for a post-pandemic world. They’re signing up for in-person gym memberships, buying dresses, and planning trips. While retail therapy and planning for the future are a fun way of distracting ourselves from the uncertainties and challenges around us — if done responsibly and in moderation — there’s several other effective options to us cope. For example, we can practice mindfulness, when we’re working out or while we’re eating, which is especially helpful if we’re managing the period munchies or other common symptoms like bloating and fatigue. When it comes to work and family, we can also make small adjustments to combat Zoom fatigue and create or shore up our boundaries to prevent burnout and strengthen relationship.