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Virginia Women Are Suffering Under Trump’s COVID Economy


From the Democratic Party of Virginia:

Virginia women are suffering under Trump’s COVID economy

Richmond, VA — The economic crisis Donald Trump triggered by failing to contain the COVID-19 pandemic has severely hurt the economic standing of women nationwide and across our Commonwealth. Nationally, women are shouldering the burden of childcare while also making up a majority of some of the most essential jobs. Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s failure to rebuild our economy continues to keep women from regaining their standing in the workplace. 

The worst economic effects of Trump’s recession have fallen on women, even though they made up a majority of the workforce at the start of this year. A recent analysis found that between March and April, women lost 11.7 million jobs compared to 9.6 million lost by men, and the female unemployment rate has now reached double digits for the first time since 1948. The pandemic’s outsized effects on certain industries have also hurt women more. One out of every three jobs held by women have been designated “essential,” meaning they must be exposed to the risk of contracting the virus every time they work. Women make up three out of every four health care workers as well as a majority of essential retail workers. 

These effects are magnified for women of color. In August, the unemployment rate for white women was 7.3 percent. But for Black women the unemployment rate was 12 percent, and for Latinas it was 10.5 percent. Women of color also make up a significant share of essential workers, including over half of all nursing assistants and home health aids.

Finally, Trump’s mishandling of the PPP program has also severely hurt women business owners. The Small Business Administration’s Inspector General issued a report in May that found the SBA failed to issue guidance to lenders to ensure loans went to underserved businesses, even though the CARES Act required it to do so. As a result, the lack of guidance meant “rural, minority, and women-owned businesses may not have received the loans as intended.” 

This all has had a particularly heavy impact in Virginia, where sectors of the economy most impacted by COVID like retail and hospitality disproportionately employ women and make up an important share of the Commonwealth’s economy. Virginia’s hospitality industry lost nearly 100,000 jobs from July 2019 to July 2020, while businesses that have higher shares of male workers in fields like construction, manufacturing, and IT saw relatively few losses. 

“It’s shameful but sadly not surprising that a president who has called women every name under the sun would fail to respond when women are bearing the brunt of a devastating public health crisis and recession. Donald Trump’s inaction sends a clear message that he doesn’t care about the women struggling to find childcare, risking their health to go to work, and fighting to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the women of Virginia have a message for him: we beat you four years ago, we beat your cronies every November since, and we’ll beat you again in the Commonwealth come November,” said DPVA Chair Susan Swecker. 


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