As per unadjusted figures reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 74.08 million women were employed of which 17.3 million were employed part-time and approximately 2.7 million women were unemployed in 2019. Furthermore, the most recent CDC report released on April 14 notes that healthcare is the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing over 18 million workers, with women representing nearly 80% of this workforce. Of 9,282 U.S. COVID-19 cases reported among healthcare personnel, the median age was 42 years, and 73% were female.
Given these statistics, it is vital for the COVID-19 pandemic response to take into account the specific demographic characteristics of each state and empower decision-makers with sex-disaggregated data for gender-specific crisis response. This page focuses on highlighting some such gender-specific responses to COVID-19.
Women form a major share of the part-time workforce and health care professionals in the United States.
While the latest figures released by CDC reports 5750 males and 3931 females deaths as of April 15, 2020, given the demographic data and the workforce data shown above, females face greater challenges due to pre-existing socio-economic limitations, in caring for themselves and their family during this pandemic.
Measures such as School closures impact families and especially women the responsibility of keeping their children engaged and educated.
Pregnancy and childbirth pose specific challenges for women during this pandemic.
CURRENT GAPS in POLICY
While States have mentioned pregnancy and breastfeeding guidance on their COVID-19 websites, there is a lack of a clear policy guidance on how to ensure complete care during pregnancy
We could not find policies or guidance on pregnancy-related topics for State prisons, essential workers in critical sectors such as Healthcare workers
While the CDC and State websites are now providing a Woman, Infant and Children (WIC) section with information on safety during COVID-19, much of this information pertains to uncertainty around implications of COVID-19 to pregnancy or regarding cleanliness and hygiene.
Additional clear communication and health and safety policy guidance must be made available regarding services available for pregnant women in terms of:
Periodic visits for pre-natal care and post-natal care
Pre-term and neo-natal care
Post-partum help and support
Access to safe and legal abortion for health-related complications during COVID-19 under medical supervision