New Study: Women still make less than men — especially in jobs impacted by COVID-19 | Wednesday Morning Coffee

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Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

With America in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic and with hospitals and health networks strained to the maximum, a new study has revealed another pinch point in the nation’s healthcare system.

Despite facing the same risks to their safety and their health, women who work in professions impacted by the pandemic make substantially less than their male colleagues, according to a new study by the progressive Economic Policy Institute.

A third of all working women (33.4 percent) compared to 15.7 percent of men are employed in the two industries impacted by the pandemic in different ways: Health care/social assistance and leisure/hospitality, the report found, citing data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Demand in the former category has surged, while the latter has been rocked by closings during the course of the pandemic, the report found. And women in both sectors are on the unfavorable end of a wage gap.

Across all sectors, in 2019, “on average … women were paid 22.6 percent less than men, after controlling for race and ethnicity, education, age, and geographic division. The gaps for black and Hispanic women relative to white men are larger than the overall gap and the white men–white women gap. Compared with white men, black and Hispanic women are paid 33.7 percent and 33.0 percent less, respectively, after controlling for age, education, and geographic division. For white women, the gap is 25.7 percent,” the study, whose release was timed to coincide with Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, concluded.

(Image via The Economic Policy Institute)

“Black women are especially likely to work in hospitals and nursing care facilities: 13.1 percent of all black women workers work in a hospital or a nursing care facility, compared with 10.9 percent of Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) women workers, 10 percent of white women workers, and 6.4 perent of Latina workers,” the study found.

(Image via The Economic Policy Institute)

“Leisure and hospitality accounts for nearly 12 percent of women’s employment. Accommodation and food service businesses, a subset of this industry, employ 13.0 percent of Latina workers, 8.8 percent of AAPI women workers, 8.6 percent of black women workers, and 7.0 percent of white women workers,”  the report found. “While most men and women employed as restaurant wait staff and hotel workers earn modest hourly wages, the existence of a gender wage gap—and thus the elevated financial insecurity these women workers face—means that women in this industry are especially financially vulnerable in the event that they are out of work or on a severely reduced work schedule for an extended period of time.”

Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed “a number of underlying weaknesses in the U.S. economy,” the study concluded. “While the $2 trillion stimulus bill signed … into law (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act) is an important step in the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, it falls short of fully protecting workers during the coronavirus crisis. Further, long-standing gender and racial inequities in pay, access to paid leave, and even opportunities for telework must be considered as the country continues to develop plans for the response to and recovery from this crisis.”

(Image: Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association joint campaign)

Our Stuff.
Blaming COVID-19 shuttered offices, the Wolf administration said it can’t process a request by the Capital-Star (and other news outlets) for access for information about the waivers process used to evaluate which Pennsylvania businesses are — and are not — considered life-sustaining. Stephen Caruso has the story.

Wednesday is National Census Day. What’s at stake for Pennsylvania in a COVID-19 impacted head count? Not much — just billions of dollars in federal assistance and tons of political cloutCapital-Star Washington Reporter Allison Stevens explains.

Half of all Pennsylvania counties are now under stay-at-home orders from the Wolf administration. At a briefing Tuesday, state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine shed some limited light on how those decisions are made.

Benched by COVID-19, Pennsylvania’s minor league baseball towns are hoping to avoid an economic strike-outNortheastern Pennsylvania Correspondent Patrick Abdalla reports.

In response to decreasing ridership because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Erie cut its bus service, but it’s still left many northwestern Pennsylvanians without a key lifelineErie Correspondent Hannah MacDonald reports.

Facing postponed graduations and scuttled career plans, Correspondent Michala Butler looks at how Pennsylvania’s college and high school students are coping with pandemic life.

In Pittsburgh, city teachers are being trained to teach the district’s 23,000 students remotely. And classes are scheduled to resume April 16, our partners at the Pittsburgh Current report.

In Philadelphia, COVID-19 cases among the city’s Black residents are on the rise, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report. And shootings are on the rise despite the city’s current stay-at-home order.

On our Commentary Page, opinion regular Anwar Curtis introduces you to Harrisburg community activist Kia Hansardwho describes herself as a ‘helper by nature.’ And Misericordia University professor John Ash offers some tips on preparing for the next pandemic.

(Photo via The Philadelphia Tribune)

Elsewhere.
SEPTA
 has stopped onboard fare collections and started limiting passengers, the Inquirer reports.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is upset that such mid-sized cities as the Steel City have been left out of the federal stimulus bill, Pittsburgh City Paper reports.
PennLive wonders whether Pennsylvania’s state parks will survive our social distancing era.
Lehigh Valley warehouse workers are caught in an ‘uncomfortable spot,’ in the midst of COVID-19, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

Delaware has restricted childcare centers to essential personnel only, as the First State logs 10 deaths, WHYY-FM reports.
The PA Post looks at why Pennsylvania is leading the nation in unemployment claims.
Rules about essential employees vary from state to state, even hour by hourStateline.org reports.
Roll Call looks at the partisan policy fights that have been sparked at the state level by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What Goes On.
Time TBA:
 Daily COVID-19 briefing,

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to our former PennLive colleague, Hope Stephan, who celebrates today. As ever, enjoy the day — with clean hands and at a safe distance.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a song from Adele that popped up on Tuesday night, and sounded, at that moment, like an anthem for the world before the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s ‘When We Were Young.

Wednesday’s Gratuitous History Fact.
Today in 1957, an enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex, stirred from the ice by a nuclear explosion, laid waste to the city of Cleveland, ate lunch in Chicago, and then went for a quick dip in the San Francisco Bay, before finally settling into a comfortable retirement in the south of France, where it now operates a beachside surf shed. Which is either the plot for an unmade Godzilla movie — or us just wishing you a Happy April Fool’s Day.

And now you’re up to date.

John L. Micek
John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.