The coronavirus pandemic has impacted millions of Americans financially, with 2.1 million workers claiming unemployment benefits for the week ending May 23. In total, nearly 41 million people have filed for unemployment benefits since early March.
While the effects of these job losses have impacted everyone, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women are being hit the hardest by today's crisis. In April alone, women accounted for 55% of the 20.5 million jobs lost that month. This number of unemployed women, according to the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), is greater than the 11.1 million jobs women gained between the end of the Great Recession in July 2010 and the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in February 2020.
To help women cope with these financial losses, several organizations have stepped up to provide the professional support and resources needed to get through this pandemic. From mentorship opportunities to job connections, fellowship programs and financial assistance, CNBC Make It has created a list of four organizations that are doing their part to ensure women remain connected to today's workforce.
Understanding that a post-pandemic economy can be challenging for women who are re-entering the workforce while balancing home life and child care, Ellevate has created a fellowship for women called EllevateHER Forward. With this fellowship, women will receive year-long access to networking and mentorship opportunities; virtual webinars; and career development resources.
"We see that women are bearing the greater economic burden during this time in terms of lost work and lost wages," says Ellevate Network CEO Kristy Wallace, while explaining that returning to work is "statistically more difficult for women" because they also carry the burden of taking care of their families. "We really just wanted to tackle that head on. I feel like in the past couple of years we've made some progress, but not enough progress on equality in the workplace and we're concerned that during this time we'll slide backwards."
To fund the fellowship, Wallace says Ellevate is accepting donations from its more than 150,000 current members as well as anyone from the outside community who wants to contribute. The organization is then stepping up to match all contributions of up to $250,000. To qualify, women have to have lost their job, been furloughed or impacted financially in any way by the coronavirus pandemic.
Today, women make up 88% of adult-care workers in home-based settings and 85% of adult-care workers in institutional settings, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research. To help support these workers who have been laid off due to Covid-19 or who are staying home from work for safety reasons, the National Domestic Workers Alliance has created a Coronavirus Care Fund that will provide home-care workers, nannies and house cleaners with $400 in emergency assistance. The fund will be distributed to approved applicants in the form of a mailed Visa gift card, allowing workers to use the money in the same way they would use a credit card for in-person and online purchases.
Fairygodboss, a career and networking platform for women, has launched its newest quick-apply feature that will link job-seeking women with 12 companies who are actively looking to hire more women today. Rather than filling out a long online application, candidates can create a career profile on Fairygodboss's platform that can then be used to easily apply to job openings posted by the 12 companies. From there, job-seekers can get real-time status updates on their applications and message recruiters directly about the position they're interested in.
"For most people, the biggest insecurity they have [today] is losing their job or they've already lost their job and they're wondering how they're going to actually get that next paycheck," says Fairgodboss co-founder and CEO Georgene Huang. Her hope, she says, is that the new quick-apply feature will make the employment search "a little bit easier" for women today.
Ellevest, an investing platform for women, is offering live office hours and free online workshops where career coaches and financial planners are giving advice on how to financially cope, plan and prepare for the ongoing effects of today's pandemic. Each week, experts will be answering finance and career questions as well as hosting new virtual workshops.