Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

"She-cession": Coronavirus forces rethinking of safety net for working women

The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for working women, but one prominent women's policy expert says it could provide a new opportunity to create the kinds of social supports they should have had all along.

Driving the news: In an interview with "Axios on HBO," Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, said the pandemic has created a "she-cession" — a loss of jobs that has disproportionately affected women and highlighted the gaps in the safety net for working families.


  • The solutions to fill those gaps, she said, include universal child care, more funding for child care, paid sick leave, and more generous paternity and maternity leave at the federal level.
  • "Building a new infrastructure, an economy that works for all is costly, but it's worth it," Mason told Axios' Margaret Talev.

The big picture: As of the beginning of the year, women made up more than half of the non-farm workforce. But those gains have been wiped out by the pandemic, with women accounting for the majority of the jobs lost.

  • "At the start of the pandemic, women lost millions and millions of jobs. And the gains that we had made slipped away," Mason said.
  • That's largely because the service sectors were hit hardest by the virus, she said, and women are overrepresented in the service sectors.

The catch: Mason acknowledged that an agenda of universal child care, paid sick leave and other new social supports would be expensive: "It's definitely in the billions, and it could tip up to the trillions."

  • But the coronavirus has already unleashed spending on stimulus measures and extended unemployment insurance that would have been unthinkable before the pandemic, she said.
  • "There's an opportunity for us because of the pandemic to really think about what kind of policies do we need for working women and families," Mason said. "We're in a moment where we're saying the economy won't recover if you don't do these things."
  • "We should think about child care as a public good, in the same way we think about parks," she said. "You might not go every day, but it's actually a public good that benefits us all."

The bottom line, according to Mason:"You cannot have a full economic recovery without women."

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories