Women Hurt Most by Economic Impact of COVID, Connecticut Research Shows

Connecticut by the Numbers

Women in Connecticut have been impacted by the pandemic.PCSW Report image

After an analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Connecticut women, the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women in Connecticut (PCSW), a bipartisan organization, is urging the state to take a series of steps to spur economic recovery in the state, particularly among women.

Their report, “The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Connecticut’s Women,” presents the findings of the PCSW’s Statewide Data Collection Initiative, which collected thousands of pieces of data from Connecticut’s women to assess the impact of COVID-19 on their economic security. Over 1,100 women across 174 zip codes in Connecticut took the survey or participated in the forums.

According to Tina Courpas, Executive Director of the PCSW, “There were many important take aways from the Report. In the area of work and pay, the effect of job losses, furloughs, and career downshifts, which were disproportionately borne by women, are areas where the impacts will be felt long after there is some return to normalcy. For working women with dependent children, it cannot be overemphasized that key drivers of this negative impact were lack of childcare and the demands of children home from school.”

The key recommendations are:

  1. Encourage training and on ramping for women to recover lost jobs
  2. Eliminate the gender wage gap – provide equal pay for equal work
  3. Support early childcare – subsidize women/families who cannot afford current options, while retaining family choice
  4. Expand quality childcare options – through more licensing and training
  5. Financial relief to renters and homeowners
  6. Expand access to affordable, accessible healthcare
  7. Elevate awareness of mental health issues
  8. Elevate domestic violence in all forms as a significant factor in Court proceedingsProvide statewide guidelines to safely open schools for the remainder of 2020-21 school year
  9. Support college tuition relief and college loan forgiveness
  10. Expand role of non-profits and private sector to derive creative solutions to lessen fiscal burden on state government

Among the 52-page Report’s key findings, which led to the recommendations:

  • 26.5% were furloughed or lost their jobs
  • 66.1% of those with dependent children experienced an impairment of their ability to work due to home demands (lack of childcare, children in remote school) 16.1% reported that their career advancement had been impaired
  • 68.5% reported that their educational progress had been negatively impacted 49.8% reported a negative mental health impact
  • 14.1% were in a domestic violence situation, which for 49.8% developed or got worse due to COVID-19

"The numbers, statistics, and stories you are sharing are important to our understanding of how heavily this pandemic has impacted women across the state of Connecticut,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a PCSW Advisory Board Member. “The pandemic has displaced women from the workforce at multiple rates compared to men. This unfairness is not only bad for their families, it's also bad for our society and our economy."

Other key findings of the report include the impact of the pandemic on Connecticut women’s educational progress, housing, and food security. The Report highlights that these impacts in many categories were felt disproportionately by women with annual household income levels of $35,000 or lower and by women of color.

The PCSW intends for the Report to be used widely to support legislation aimed at Connecticut’s economic recovery, and to support the work of many organizations across the state. It has also been disseminated to the Governor’s office, legislators, non-profits, service providers, employers, women's groups, and citizens.

According to Mary Lee Kiernan, CEO of the YWCA of Greenwich and Board Chair of the PCSW, “The pandemic has exacerbated or created domestic violence situations for many of the clients that the YWCA serves. The Report is an invaluable source of Data to support and inform our work.”

The PCSW’s Respondent Pool closely mirrors Connecticut’s demographics across the four important measures of race/ethnicity, age, household income level, and geography. Additionally, the Report’s data captures the “winter surge”, which the PCSW asserts is important to assess the cumulative effect of the pandemic on Connecticut women’s economic security. Between October 5, 2020, and February 5, 2021, the PCSW conducted a written and electronic survey of Connecticut’s women, as well as ten focus groups around the state, to assess the impact of COVID-19 in five areas: work and pay, housing and food security, healthcare and health, personal safety, and education.

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