After all, they are 35 percent more likely than men to live in poverty. What’s novel this time around, however, is that we have the power to take action to ensure women and their families don’t get left behind.
Know Your Value recently spoke to gender economist and CEO of Pipeline Equity Katica Roy to dive into the data to understand the specific steps elected officials should take to ease the economic blow of COVID-19.
What are you thinking about right now that most people aren’t?
S. alone, closing the gender equity gap would expand our GDP by $2 trillion.
From my viewpoint, gender equity is not only a social issue, it’s also a massive economic opportunity. A key to unlocking that $2 trillion potential largely rests in the hands of our elected officials.
Public policy today is mostly gender-ignorant, meaning it doesn’t apply the gender lens to determine how said policies impact men and women differently. Gender-ignorant policies inadvertently leave out 51 percent of our population (women) and as a result, constrict the economy.
Instead of ignoring gender, elected officials should practice gender mainstreaming when crafting policies to ensure that all members of society benefit equitably from them.
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Katica Roy: The week ending on March 7, the Department of Labor registered 211,000 new unemployment claims.
Seven days later, the number of new claims had soared to 281,000—a weekly increase of 33 percent. Analysts predict the following week will bring the number of new unemployment claims to more than 2 million, a spike of over 600 percent.
If that prediction holds, roughly four million Americans will be out of work. In other words, the number of unemployed Americans would double in just one week.
Since women are more likely than men to be lower-income and part-time workers, the brunt of these cuts fell on female shoulders. (More than 60 percent of minimum-wage and lower-wage workers are female.
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In a blink of an eye, 5,000 restaurant workers in my city suddenly don’t have jobs, and officials expect that number to rise in the weeks ahead. Now, more broadly speaking, women represent 51 percent of all restaurant workers, in Colorado, 45.
As a gender economist, I’m concerned for these female-headed households. Because moms, in aggregate, earn 69 for every dollar dads earn, the wage gap puts them at an even greater disadvantage when financial crises hit.
It’s part of the reason why children living with solo moms are five times more likely to be poor than children living with solo dads.
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Katica Roy: A great deal.
Most recently, on March 18, Congress passed a second round of economic stimulus that seeks to soften the economic shock of the pandemic. It includes provisions for paid sick leave, healthcare, unemployment, and food assistance.
Know Your Value: Are these actions enough?
Katica Roy: They are better than nothing, but we have to do more.
There are reports saying the U.S.
Personal consumption, i.e.
Since consumer spending represents such a large share of our economy, we can be certain that the pace of virus-induced job cuts—which skew female—will severely hinder our nation’s economic health. Even for those whose jobs won’t be directly affected by COVID-19, what does it say for consumer confidence when two million people lose their jobs in one week? Or when Wall Street’s “Fear Index” peaks at an all-time high?
When one person spends money, another person makes money.
This simple relationship lies at the heart of our capitalist society. But it takes two to tango.
To win back consumer spending specifically, policymakers need solutions to keep women’s wallets full. Due to the gender pay gap, women already had less money coming into their wallets before the coronavirus crisis even began.
Table all tax payments for 2020 for taxpayers who owe less than $1 million.
Reduce mortgage interest rates, expedite refinancing, and stay all evictions. Among single-family homes, 2.
3. Table or forgive all student loan payments for at least one year.
Get money in the pockets of Americans who don’t have it. Offer income- and family-based payments, or universal basic income (UBI).
Instead of giving a $1,000 lump of cash to Americans who met a certain economic threshold, policy makers should factor household income and family structure into UBI allowances. Doing so would ensure the 70 percent of our nation’s poor who are women and children receive equitable assistance.
5. Expand paid sick leave and paid caregiver leave to all workers.
Use partnerships between community colleges and corporations to fund skills-based degree programs designed on an apprenticeship model. The company pays for the tuition (and receives tax credit for doing so) while paying a stipend to students.
Students would move from lower-productivity jobs to higher-productivity jobs with a focus on skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
I urge all elected officials not to forget that in a few months, Americans will be casting their ballots.
Those in the halls of power, and those wishing to join their ranks, would be wise to remember that women are 53 percent of our nation’s electorate and have increased their participation at the polls by 12 points since 2014. women also vote in higher numbers than men (they’ve done so since 1964).
Gender mainstreaming—it matters.
Katica Roy is a gender economist and the CEO and founder of Denver-based Pipeline, an award-winning SaaS company that leverages artificial intelligence to identify and drive economic gains through gender equity.
Pipeline launched the first gender equity app on Salesforce’s AppExchange. The Pipeline platform was named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2019 and Fast Company’s 2020 World’s Most Innovative Companies.