The Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the global goal of closing the gender gap by three years.
Until before the pandemic and according to data from the Closingap cluster, in 2055 we could see the result of joint efforts between nations and various sectors to bring girls, adolescents and women to true conditions of equity.
However, three years after the pandemic began, not only has there been a setback, as the gender gap between men and women increased by 0.8 percentage points, but the goal looks increasingly distant and it is now 2058 when full parity is expected to be reached.
But the outlook is not improving. When ranking the gender gap in various areas that are essential for the development of the female population, it is the economic aspect and it is Hispanic and Latina women who are the most affected.
Angelica Fuentes Tellez, a Latina businesswoman who has focused her efforts for more than 20 years on female empowerment at all levels, points out that the economic effects of the pandemic have entrenched inequality not only by gender, but also by race.
“Just because they are Spanish-speaking or have Latin roots, there are around 30 million women who, specifically in the United States, face significant challenges since the pandemic that condition their employment and economic stability,” she explains.
Despite being a vital support base for the U.S. economy, and despite the fact that more and more Latinas are graduating from college, they continue to be denied access to quality job opportunities, earning 55 cents for every dollar earned by non-Hispanic white men.
With Covid-19 at its peak, 21% of Latina women lost their jobs during the early days of the pandemic, in addition to the fact that nearly a quarter of this population does not have access to health insurance and only 16% have the ability to work from home.
Businesswoman Angelica Fuentes points out that after the pandemic, Hispanic women represent one of the highest unemployment rates compared to other demographic sectors in the United States.
Likewise, she specifies that it is necessary to see in a general way and without biases by race, the implications of this gap rooted from Covid-19, because with the unemployment of Hispanic women, the longed-for economic recovery of the country would be more distant and with it, the possibility of shortening the gender gap.
Closing the Gender Gap Requires Comprehensive Efforts
On the occasion of the commemoration of International Women’s Day, Angelica Fuentes is emphatic in pointing out that bridging the gender gap requires comprehensive and global efforts.
“Hispanic women in the United States are a pillar for the economy, for social welfare and also for the goal of sustainable development. This commemoration reminds us every year of the importance of opening more spaces for female integration at all levels, however, it is necessary to maintain the vision that the path to gender parity will be the constant work, throughout the year, to create policies that encourage their empowerment and facilitate their inclusion”.