When the global pandemic swept the world, people of all ages, all walks of life and of different socio-economic backgrounds were caught by surprise. The threat was real, and everyone was struggling to make sense of the rapidly spreading disease. While everyone has suffered throughout this ordeal (in one way or another), evidence shows that essential workers, women, people of color and women of color in particular, were impacted the most by the unprecedented health crisis. In fact, the most vulnerable members of our society have experienced higher infection, hospitalization, and death rates than other groups and took longer to recover and get back on track. Many have been devastated mentally, emotionally, financially, and professionally, and many more are STILL facing the uphill battle on the road to recovery.
We were all captivated by the courage demonstrated by frontline workers putting their lives on the line servicing our daily needs, while Covid-19 was gaining momentum and causing devastation all around the world. Without a doubt, these brave women, men, and others were at increased risk for catching the disease at a time when there were no vaccines available on the market. From being almost invisible before the pandemic to becoming one of the most admired group of people at the height of the crisis, essential workers were carrying a huge responsibility of taking care of others. Every single day.
When it comes to women, they had to overcome extraordinary odds while tending to the needs of their loved ones. Once the pandemic hit, both schooling and childcare infrastructure started to collapse. With limited childcare options available, especially to the most vulnerable groups, many women were forced into quitting their jobs and losing their incomes to care for their young children and/or elderly parents. As I pointed out in my book The Workplace Transformed, women accounted for up to 90% of the jobs lost since the start of the pandemic, according to ABC News. In other words, it’s women who have made enormous sacrifices for the sake of their families and ended up stretching themselves too thin.
Sadly, women of color in particular were impacted the most given some deeply ingrained inequalities that are still prevalent in our society. In addition, they are overrepresented in the industries hit the hardest by Covid-19 and don’t always have the luxury of working from home or enjoying the flexible working arrangements.
According to Americanprogress.org, in general, women of color are less likely to have the wealth and savings necessary to stay afloat for an extended period of time without earnings. Let’s not forget that people are still losing jobs due to the pandemic, not to mention the fears of the upcoming recession rattling the job market and resulting in job cuts. Studies show that women of color have lower cash reserves, less money in savings, retirement funds, investments, or real estate. In fact, the median wealth for single Black women is $200 and the median wealth for single Hispanic women is $100, compared with $15,640 for single white women and $28,640 for single white men. In other words, many women of color are ill-equipped to endure and survive a dramatic drop in earnings caused by the global health crisis.
With all the setbacks and challenges, there are lessons learned and new opportunities to make a change. In fact, it is incumbent on us to act and lend a hand to those who truly need help. Together we should continue exploring a variety of viable options, strategies and solutions that will enable essential workers, women, and people of color to stay healthy, maintain a productive lifestyle and feel that they are being taken care of. In good times or bad. And of course, each one of us can play a role simply by showing some genuine compassion and kindness towards others.
In the book, I explain what we can do to ensure those who have been impacted the most from Covid-19 have the opportunity to overcome adversity and recover.
I hope you will enjoy reading my book and join me in the discussion and the movement of The Workplace Transformed on LinkedIn @Angela Reddock-Wright, on Facebook and Instagram @iamangelareddockwright.
You can also find the links to purchase the book, and to book me for speaking, podcast, book club and signings and meetings on my website at www.angelareddock-wright.com/book/.