Navigating the She-Cession: The Intersectionality of Economic Uncertainty

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Global economic downturns are sure to affect everyone to some extent. This year has seen record unemployment numbers and job losses, which have disproportionately affected women and especially women of color. This is a unique situation to the 2020 economic recession, which is why many are calling it the “she-cession.” We took a closer look at what’s causing this disparity and how you can manage your well-being.

Financial independence and wealth have been exclusionary for a long time. The core elements of gaining wealth are career growth and property ownership, both of which excluded women for centuries. This gap remains today as 63 percent of part-time workers are women. Additionally, women own just 37 percent of the wealth in the U.S. Still, women have seen gains in social and wealth equity globally over the last several decades. 

December 2019 set records as women held more payroll jobs than men. Women’s representation in leadership positions grew 29 percent in 2019, too, despite the widening pay gap up the career ladder.

This gap is more apparent when looking at the statistics for women of color. Black female executives make 62 cents to the dollar that a white male executive makes. White women make up 32 percent of all management positions, while Black and Latina women account for four percent and Asian women just three percent. The good news is that companies are committing to racial equity internally through pay and leadership opportunities, as well as donating millions towards reform and social justice to influence systemic changes. 

How Economic Downturns Disproportionately Hurt Women at Work

The number of total unemployed workers fell by more than 24 million between February and April 2020. This is more than double the unemployment increase over two years of The Great Depression in just three months. 11.5 million of those who lost their jobs were women, compared to nine million men. 

The top industries affected were hospitality, education, and health services — three industries that make up 47 percent of jobs for women. Additionally, 14 percent of Hispanic women hold jobs in hospitality, which cut 39 percent of its workforce. 

The disproportionate share of entry-level positions held by women and women of color, tied with COVID-19’s direct impact to primarily female sectors left women particularly vulnerable to this recession. However, job postings are returning and industries are showing signs of recovery. There are steps you can take to prepare and preserve your wealth for future hardships. 

Learn more about how the she-cession came to be and tips to manage your emotional and financial well-being

Tips to navigate the she-cession

Sources: Stanford | McKinsey | KFF | Care | Strong Nation

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