Treasury Secretary Yellen Says COVID-19 Has Had Unfair Impact on Women's Income and Opportunities

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, IMF

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is calling for changes to help improve labor market conditions for women in the long-term, especially after the “extremely unfair” impact COVID-19 has had on income and economic opportunities of women over the past year. 

On Monday, Yellen said, “I think it’s absolutely tragic, the impact that this crisis has had on women, especially low-skilled women and minorities.”

Yellen, the first woman to head the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department, appeared with Kristalina Georgieva, the second woman to head the International Monetary Fund, at an event recognizing International Women’s Day. Part of their conversation centered on the overall impact the ongoing coronavirus crisis has had on women’s participation in the labor force.

As a whole, women were more affected by the pandemic than men since they are more likely to be employed in the services sector, which experienced massive job losses over the past year, Yellen said. Additionally, when schools closed many women were forced to give up their jobs or saw their careers take a backseat to taking care of their children, Yellen said.

As of January, women – who typically represent a little less than half of the country’s workforce – accounted for slightly more than half of the 10 million jobs lost. Since the start of the pandemic, women have lost 5.4 million net jobs, compared with the 4.4 million jobs lost by men. 

“They’ve really lost a lot of income and opportunities,” Yellen said. “We’re really concerned about permanent scarring from this crisis.”

Yellen remains hopeful Congress will pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus package this week, which will provide much-needed relief to struggling Americans. Following a widespread rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and school reopenings, she said the goal is to avoid another decade-long recovery period, like the one following the global financial crisis of 2007-2009.

For the long-term, Yellen said the priority will be improving the job market conditions women face, such as lack of paid leave for family emergencies, childcare and benefits.

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Source: Equities News

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