BOSTON, MA — MASS. COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN — The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women has released a report on the economic impacts and social repercussions of the pandemic on Women of Color in the Commonwealth. The report highlights key findings from MCSW research, and an overview of the work conducted by the MCSW to attain information that would be useful in providing resources and adopting policy to assist Women of Color and their families currently and through the recovery.
The data was collected on February 24 during a virtual public hearing attended by nearly 200 participants, and between February 18, 2021 to March 15, 2021 through an online survey distributed via social media and email. It reflects input from 816 Massachusetts residents from 200 communities throughout the Commonwealth (48% of the participants identify as Women of Color from 107 communities). Both sources demonstrated that the pandemic has exacerbated the barriers and inequalities Women of Color face every day.
Specific data showed that close to half (43.8%) of the Women of Color reported that they had lost personal income with 33% attributing the loss of income to quarantining, the inability to qualify for unemployment, hours reduced by an employer, and elder and/or child care requirements. Notably, Women of Color respondents were overrepresented in the number of respondents who experience a disruption of work. Job and income loss as a result of COVID-19 is likely to lead to downstream effects on housing stability; 13.5% of Women of Color respondents indicated that they were falling behind on their rent or mortgage. The emotional consequences of the pandemic have had a significant and concerning impact on women with 34.3% of Women of Color reporting difficulty obtaining mental healthcare.
The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is an independent state agency that was legislatively created in 1998 to advance women of the Commonwealth to full equality in all areas of life and to promote their rights and opportunities. The MCSW provides a permanent, effective voice for the women of Massachusetts.