Black women are bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Stitch Fix feels the sting of the downturn, China defines sexual harassment, and black women are bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic. Have a productive Wednesday. 

– An unequal burdenAs protests continue to gather steam across the country, many media outlets—including Fortune—have turned to economic data in an attempt to illustrate some of the realities that underlie the outrage and despair felt by black Americans.

With headlines like ‘Black workers, already lagging, face big economic risks,’ and ‘An undercurrent of the protests: African Americans are struggling more economically from this pandemic,’ these stories focus on the macro, laying out the multitude of ways in which black people are facing a structural economic disadvantage in the U.S.

Digging a little deeper into the data, there’s also a gender component worth noting. As William M. Rodgers III, a professor of public policy and chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University told the Washington Post: “When I saw the numbers I was not surprised to see blacks, particularly black women, bearing a major brunt of this recession.”

The Post notes that black women have been hardest hit in terms of the employment population ratio, which focuses on the share of people who are working out of an entire group. By that measure, black women went from 58.4{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3} employment in February to 47.4{4bae5313c1ffa697ce99995897f7847f1ebf3bca0fb7c37396bb602eb24323d3} in April.

Add that blow to the fact that black women have long faced a larger gender pay gap than white women—not to mention their higher likelihood of being overlooked for opportunities and promotions—and it’s clearer than ever that we were wrong about the coronavirus being the ‘great equalizer.’ The economic pain of the pandemic is in no way equal, and black women are feeling far more than their share.

Kristen Bellstrom
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Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

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