Women have been hit harder by job loss during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
It found in April that the unemployment rate for women increased almost three percentage points above the rate for men. It's a direct contrast to the 2008 recession, which left more men out of work.
The institute says this time is different because women dominate the fields that have had the most coronavirus-related layoffs, like hospitality and education.
Women of color are even more heavily impacted, with the unemployment rate highest amongst Hispanic women.
The institute's president and CEO, C. Nicole Mason, says many of those were low wage jobs.
“Many of these women, both black and Latina women, women of color were economically vulnerable before the start of the pandemic,” said Mason. “And the pandemic has only worsened those circumstances and their vulnerability.
It's disheartening after a strong start to the year, when the institute celebrated women making up 50% of the workforce.
They tell us women will face more challenges getting back to work compared to men.
“If it feels hard, it's because it is,” said Mason. “Communities, businesses, as well as policy makers need to step up to make sure that women who are unemployed have the opportunity to reenter the workforce and those who can't have the necessary social supports they need to be able to take care of their families.”
The institute says the biggest barrier is a lack of childcare support. They're also pushing for paid sick leave and higher wages.