The American Jobs Plan devotes billions of dollars towards transportation, clean energy and innovation. But—as is too often the case—the “controversial” funding is the provision that will help women recover from the disproportionate harm they faced during the pandemic.
Financial education won’t undo systemic inequity and exclusion. Until we forge the products, practices and policies that advance an equitable economy, we can’t ask the individual to overcome the structural.
April is Financial Literacy Month. Here’s hoping it’s the last.
“This past year has been devastating for domestic workers across the country,” writes Lily Tomlin, Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian. “This month, domestic workers are demanding an end to the exclusion from health and safety laws through the Health and Safety for All Workers Act, introduced by California state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo. The governor vetoed the bill last year, but this year, he has an opportunity to do right by our most essential workers.”
Research already showed how the pandemic exacerbated sexual harassment experienced by service workers. New research shows tipped workers who earn below the minimum wage are even more likely to experience harassment.
On March 16, the Senate confirmed Isabella Casillas Guzman, President Biden’s pick to lead the Small Business Administration (SBA), an agency that has seen its profile grow enormously in response to the pandemic. She is the first Latina to lead the agency and the only Latina in Biden’s diverse Cabinet.
“Now more than ever, our small businesses need us,” Guzman said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, women have lost three decades of hard-fought gains in a single year. But injustices and inequities that existed long before COVID-19 have been exposed—and conversations around how we can support women are finally started. This is a moment like none before, and we need permanent, structural change to reach full equity.
Magnolia Mother’s Trust and other guaranteed income programs make the case that cash without restrictions is a crucial and powerful component of the social safety net that the federal government should provide.
As President Biden prepares to introduce a new plan aimed at jumpstarting economic rebirth, he must build on a key lesson from the past year: There is no equitable jobs plan that does not include child care.
As has been well-documented during this pandemic, women and men interact with the economy differently. Because of occupational segregation and caregiving obligations, women have been forced out of the workforce at a higher rate than men. For new full-employment policies to serve women, they must proactively address these and other obstacles.
From the Spring 1972 issue:
“Society needs women on welfare as ‘examples’ to let every woman, factory workers and housewife workers alike, know what will happen if she lets up, if she’s laid off, if she tries to go it alone without a man.”