More men than women lost their jobs in the past year according to data from the Department of Labor Statistics, but there’s no denying the pandemic’s impact on the economy has taken its toll on men, women, and families (Fig. 1). Vice President Harris addressed the “pandemic [that] has touched every part of our lives. Families everywhere are shouldering a huge burden as homes have become classrooms and child-care centers, and uncertainty plagues each day,” she said in a Washington Post editorial on February 12.
Although the Vice President addressed “families everywhere,” she immediately turned her attention to women affected by the pandemic, highlighting a Reuter’s article by Jonnelle Marte as evidence that women are the one’s suffering most during the pandemic and beginning her editorial with a story about a female hotel worker with a wife, son, and mother who rely on her income. The woman, M. Rocha, was furloughed from her job and her story is symbolic of the men and women across the country looking to return to work and needing to support their families.
Vice President Harris continued her narrative, alluding to personal experiences shaped by the hardships of single-motherhood and childcare she experienced as a child before launching into the programs that will provide women relief.
Ms. Rocha, like so many other American families, faces serious challenges, but Harris’s editorial selectively forgoes the challenges of male workers and their families at a time when male unemployment continues to rise at rates greater than females. The rhetoric from the White House concerning unemployment and procedure is alienating on many levels as discussions and policies regarding gender and unemployment are incomplete narratives.