The US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has declared that women must be prioritized in any post-Covid-19 economic recovery, describing the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on women to be “extremely unfair.”
Yellen, who is also the former chair of the Federal Reserve, described the potential pitfalls of attempted economic recovery during a speech on Monday. Describing how best to rebuild after the epidemic, she said the lion’s share of the resources provided by government recovery funds should go to women – “especially low-skilled women and minorities.”
“Demanding long-term measures to improve labor market conditions for women” should be near the first order of business once the country begins recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, she suggested.
Not only did women make up less than half the labor force, the areas in which they dominated – especially the service sector – were hit especially hard by government responses to Covid-19.
Yellen specifically called on the Biden administration to engage more fully with the problem of gender disparity in finance, observing that more than half of those who lost their jobs during the pandemic were female, even though women made up a noticeably smaller part of the global workforce.
Nevertheless, after speaking with the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, both women warned governments that they were risking leaving “permanent scars” if economic policies going forward did not match up to those championed by the Fed, the US Treasury, or the IMF.
Despite her insistence that the dire conditions women were facing amid the pandemic required not a moment to be lost, Yellen spoke comparatively little about the need for childcare and family leave, and the lack of healthcare benefits, and promised to “address [those issues] over time.”
“It is an extremely unfair thing that’s happened,” Yellen continued.
Many of those on social media didn’t fall for her ‘I feel your pain’ routine when she waxed poetic on Twitter about the grocery clerks, mail carriers, and nurses who made her existence possible.
Covid-19 showed us that our society values certain workers far more than our labor markets often indicate. Grocery clerks, mail carriers, nurses: We started calling these workers “essential” in 2020, but they really always were.
— Secretary Janet Yellen (@JanetYellen) March 5, 2021
U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY YELLEN SAYS PANDEMIC HAS HAD ‘EXTREMELY UNFAIR’ IMPACT ON WOMEN’S INCOME, EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIESTime to digitally wire $1 trillion to the unfairly impacted women
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) March 8, 2021
Yellen stated on Monday that the $1.9 trillion aid package set aside for needy Americans should get the US economy back on track enough to “return to full employment in 2022.” Unlike the previous treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, she actually praised the size of the aid package, declaring, “It’s a big package, but I think we need to go big now, and we can afford to go big.”
However, she admitted that Americans might have to wait two years before the US had regained the 9.5 million jobs lost in the past year.
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