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CARE report identifies that COVID-19 policy and planning must consider severe gender, race and class disparities

Activists with Black Lives Matter DC, 1199SEIU and ShutDownDC hold up a sign as they participate in a protest to highlight the plight of vulnerable community members, including immigrant workers and people in jails, prisons and ICE detention centers exposed to Coronavirus on Monday, April 27, 2020

Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

New York, NY (July 13, 2020) – Today, CARE has released a report calling for amplifying the voices of community-centered organizations and more gender-balanced and inclusive decision-making for COVID-19 policy and planning to address gaps within Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

Rapid Gender Analysis: COVID-19 in the United States focuses specifically on highlighting the historical and institutional systems of oppression, gender bias, and racism targeting Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). The findings of the report indicate that structural realities and biases put BIPOC communities, particularly women in those communities, at higher exposure to infection and a higher risk of death, exacerbated by existing disparities, including poverty, lack of access to healthcare, food, clean water, education, housing and plumbing.

“Women of Color, particularly Black and Indigenous women, are dying from COVID-19 because they are trying to survive in a system that not only ignores their needs but has also benefitted from their oppression,” said CARE Chief Operating Officer Tjada D’Oyen McKenna. “In order to identify, pinpoint and address existing gaps, states and territories must be more consistent and transparent in the collection and publishing of data. Agencies that perform federal tracking of COVID-19, like the CDC, should ensure the availability of systematic data disaggregated by sex, class, race, and age to measure the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19.”

Key findings:

  • Poverty compounds the effects of COVID-19, and disproportionately impacts women, as well as Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC)
  • Essential workers, who are disproportionately BIPOC women, hold more dangerous and tenuous positions, that threaten their – as well as their households’ – economic security and health
  • BIPOC communities, especially women in those communities, disproportionately bear the brunt of denial of food, housing, water and education
  • Systemic racism, abuse, and denial of care is preventing BIPOC from getting adequate healthcare including sexual and reproductive health

Cases spread rapidly since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. on January 21, 2020. The United States of America, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, has since become a country with among the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, surpassing Italy and China, with cases continuing to rise at alarming rates.

Pre-existing inequalities across gender and other social and power structures such as race and class are often exacerbated during a crisis.i Rapid Gender Analysis: COVID-19 in the United States seeks to deepen existing analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic, amplify BIPOC voices within advocacy platforms, and inform policymakers at federal, state, and local levels around a more equitable response by utilizing an intersectional lens around gender, race, and class to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable and marginalized populations. Without accounting for the differing experiences of BIPOC communities, an effective response will not be possible, and we risk perpetuating the systems of inequality while prolonging the global health crisis of COVID-19.

i Morse, M., Anderson, G. (2020, April 14.) The Shadow Pandemic: How the COVID-19 Crisis Is Exacerbating Gender Inequality. United Nations Foundation. Retrieved from: https://unfoundation.org/blog/post/shadow-pandemic-how-covid19-crisis-exacerbating-gender-inequality/

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