Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida said Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed tens of thousands of people worldwide and decimated the U.S. economy, is actually a "gendered crisis" that impacts women more than men.
"In so many ways, the #COVID19 pandemic is a gendered crisis. We're disproportionately on the frontlines as healthcare workers, food service workers, grocery." Wilson tweeted.
In so many ways, the #COVID19 pandemic is a gendered crisis. We're disproportionately on the frontlines as healthca… https://t.co/zmZJrRZCYP— Rep Frederica Wilson (@Rep Frederica Wilson) 1585679784.0
Wilson's comments are similar to those made by New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in an op-ed in The Hill, co-written by Lauren Leader. They wrote:
76 percent of the health care workforce is female. A majority of the nurses, nurse practitioners, health aides and even a majority of doctors under the age of 45 are female. These everyday heroes are working tireless hours to save lives, while at the same time trying to protect their own health and the well-being of their families.
It's not just women in health care who are bearing the brunt of this crisis. Think about this: women comprise the majority in most of the economic sectors hit hardest economically by the shut down of our economy. 40 percent of mothers in the U.S. are the primary breadwinners. They are the majority of service workers, two-thirds of America's minimum wage workers, and they are more likely to be waitresses, cooks, hotel housekeepers now out of work.
Adding to the misery, 39 percent of small business owners are women — many living on the margins, now unsure whether they will even survive.
Still, the impact of the virus is clearly widespread and neither gender is getting a pass from the consequences. And notable in the above statistics is the fact that a majority of doctors over 45 are male, men are the primary breadwinners in most households, and most small business owners are men.
Additionally, current data shows that men are significantly more likely to die of COVID-19 than women. Dr. Deborah Birx, a response coordinator on the White House coronavirus task force, said the mortality rate in Italy is about twice as high among men as it is among women.
In short, everyone is suffering, and it takes a bit of statistical framing to portray the pandemic as "gendered."