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Women continue to be affected by economic challenges

While the United States continues to fight surges in COVID, businesses struggling and unemployment all at the same time, a reminder has popped up that we as a country still are not doing right by a subsets of citizens — and particularly women within that group.

A study from Policy Matters Ohio showed inconsistencies in assistance from both the federal and state levels limited effectiveness of relief, according to a report in the Ohio Capital Journal. As of July, 269,000 fewer jobs existed in Ohio than in February 2020, pre-pandemic. At the same time, the report highlighted the fact the poverty rate in the state is at levels similar to those in 2007.

There are various reasons given for this, including the ending of supplemental unemployment benefits, frontline workers more at risk of COVID exposure and being let go by employers, and the end of the eviction moratoria as just a few reasons. But a major factor continues to be the fact that women face a wage gap as well as often being the ones who leave the workforce — either being laid off from jobs or having to leave to take care of children during remote learning. The study reinforced what many readers already have seen: Women are being disproportionately affected by our economic and public health challenges.

In 2019, there were 5.9 million women and 5.7 million men in Ohio, meaning more than half the state is at greater risk of being negatively affected. That should be all it takes to inspire public policy makers and private employers to re-examine their rules and practices to determine whether they are part of the problem, or working toward a solution.

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