NWPC California 2021/22 Public Policy Focus Statement
The following statement describes the central focus of all work to be done by the NWPC California Public Policy Committee in 2021 and 2022 and will inform the selection of a priority legislative agenda, presentation of quarterly policy forums, and all other activities of the committee.
The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women, particularly women of color and mothers with young children. A record number of women have left the workforce for myriad reasons including family care responsibilities, service sector labor force reductions, and the gender wage gap. Women account for the overwhelming majority of job losses over the past year and have also suffered decreased access to health care, including family planning and abortion services. Despite job losses, women are working as hard as ever to meet the needs of their families and communities, but those contributions largely go uncompensated.
The pandemic economy has laid bare longstanding obstacles to gender equality and threatens to erase the social progress for which women fought for more than 30 years. American women may never fully recover from these setbacks without targeted and sustained government and community intervention. The attention and awareness generated by this crisis must become the vehicle to advance the fight for finally securing equal opportunity, value, and treatment for all women.
The National Women’s Political Caucus of California reaffirms its commitment to its bottom-line issues, which have long supported this fight. We will prioritize legislation and budget measures that specifically aim to repair pandemic-related setbacks for women, both in and out of the traditional workforce. Further, we will emphasize policy that does not just restore women to a “normal” that is not acceptable, but that also advances the status of all women. We recognize and embrace a renewed social momentum for equal rights. Our policy vision for 2021/2022 is a tidal wave of redemption.
Aspan, Nearly 80% of the 346,000 workers who vanished from the U.S. labor force in January are women, Fortune, February 5, 2021, <fortune.com/2021/02/05/covid-unemployment-rate-jobs-report-2021-jobless-job-loss-us-economy-working women> (as of February 22, 2021).
Bayefsky et al., Abortion during the Covid-19 Pandemic—Ensuring Access to an Essential Health Service, The New England Journal of Medicine, April 9, 2020 <www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2008006> (as of February 5, 2021).
Caprino, The Unique Impact Of Covid-19 On Working Mothers, Black Women And Women In Senior Leadership, Forbes, January 29, 2021 <www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2021/01/29> (as of February 22, 2021).
Gross, Almost A Year Into The Pandemic, Working Moms Feel ‘Forgotten,’ Journalist Says, National Public Radio, February 18, 2021 <www.npr.org/2021/02/18/968930085> (as of February 22, 2021).
Kashen et al., How COVID-19 Sent Women’s Workforce Progress Backward, Center for American Progress, October 30, 2020 <www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2020/10/30/492582/covid-19-sent-womens-workforce progress-backward/> (as of February 23, 2021).
McKinsey, The pandemic’s gender effect, December 4, 2020 <www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and inclusion/five-fifty-the-pandemics-gender-effect> (as of February 22, 2021).
Titan et al., Impact of the Covid-19 Crisis on Women’s Employment, The Econofact Network, August 27, 2020 <econofact.org/impact-of-the-covid-19-crisis-on-womens-employment> (as of February 22, 2021).
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Division of Labor Force Statistics. Employment Situation Summary (as of February 5, 2021), <https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm>