People across the nation have been struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic, but new data confirms that non-white women have taken the brunt of these challenges.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest employment situation summary on Friday, showing that women accounted for 55 percent of the 20.5 million jobs that disappeared in April, raising their unemployment rate from 4 percent in March to 15.5 percent.
White women recorded an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent in March and then 15 percent in April, the data was even more staggering for Black women, who jumped from 5.2 percent to 16.4 percent in the same span, as well as for Hispanic or Latino women, who increased from 6 percent to 20.2 percent.
Meanwhile, adult men were reported to have an unemployment rate of 13 percent in April, up 9 percent from their rate in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With these numbers, it has become abundantly clear that women have been particularly hit hard by these difficult times.
"I think we should go ahead and call this a 'shecession,'" C. Nicole Mason, the president and chief executive of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, told The New York Times, referencing the 2008 economic recession that was coined as the "mancession" after men were more heavily impacted.
Part of the reason for this is because women, who made up 49 percent of the overall workforce, lost their jobs in areas that suffered tremendously during the pandemic, according to a report by the National Women’s Law Center.
More than 1 in 3 of the job losses in April were in leisure and hospitality — which includes restaurants and bars — but women accounted for 54 percent of those losses, the report stated.
In education and health services sector — which includes teachers and nurses — women accounted for 83 percent of the job losses, while they also lost 61 percent of jobs in retail trade, despite making up only 48 percent of that workforce, according to the report.
Since their jobs tend to underpay or undervalue them, Mason told the Times that women had less of a financial cushion to fall back on when these industries started closing and furloughing employees in the midst of the virus outbreak, leading them to difficulties in supporting themselves and their families.
It's a far cry from just a few months ago, when women in those industries were seeing major success and growth in the labor market, while male-dominated jobs, such as manufacturing, were decreasing, the Times reported.
In December, women even held more payroll jobs than men — the first time in a decade for that to happen, according to the outlet.
Now, with this new data — which marks the first time since 1948 that the unemployment rate for women has hit double digits, according to the National Women's Law Center — how and when women will rebound from the "shecession" is uncertain.
Mason told the Times that it emphasizes the need for the government to provide women with better employment protection and benefits.
Other women — including Diane Lim, a senior adviser at the research initiative Penn Wharton Budget Model, and Jasmine Tucker, a researcher at the National Women's Law Center — echoed Mason's sentiments.
"We just don’t know how people are going to feel about going back to their favorite restaurants," Lim told the Times. "How many people are going to take cruises from now on? How many people are going to jump on flights and take vacations?"
Added Tucker to the outlet: "[Women] were making some real gains. Now there's this huge step back."
As of Thursday, there have been over 1.8 million cases and at least 107,171 deaths attributed to coronavirus in the United States, according to the New York Times.
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