Women are on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A new political donation is the biggest from a woman this election cycle, pregnancy and fertility treatments are upended by the pandemic, and women are on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis. Have a mindful Monday.
– On the front lines. Something that’s only become clearer as the coronavirus pandemic has spread: women are on the front lines of the crisis.
There are the women who make up more than 85% of registered nurses nationwide. There are the women who work two-thirds of minimum wage jobs, many of whom are either losing their jobs as businesses close, or becoming more crucial than ever as they provide the essential services that keep society running. And there are the women who work as caregivers outside hospitals, in nursing homes, in people’s homes, and those who look after at-risk or elderly members of their own families for no pay at all.
Even though the new coronavirus is more fatal in men than women, these demographics mean women may be infected at higher rates. Across the healthcare industry, women hold 76% of jobs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Some states and companies are taking steps to protect the women who will be most at risk as the crisis continues. Last week, Minnesota and Vermont said they would classify grocery store workers as emergency personnel—allowing them to access state-funded childcare while they head into work during the pandemic. Hopefully, more states will follow suit.
This weekend, the New York Times published a video featuring Fran Marion, a longtime worker and shift manager at McDonald’s in Kansas City, Missouri. In the piece, she pleads with McDonald’s to begin providing paid sick leave for its workforce; as a large employer, the fast-food chain isn’t required to offer emergency sick leave by Congress’s coronavirus legislation.
Those decisions and pleas are a reminder of how crucial it is for companies and lawmakers to take action—fast—to protect women like Marion and the rest of their workforces.
On a brighter note, we’re looking for the next round of Broadsheet reader responses. This time, the question: if you’ve been working from home for a little while now, what are some of your tips for staying productive and focused? Send your best ones to email@example.com and they may be featured in a future edition of the newsletter.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Pregnant in the time of COVID-19. From IVF to birth plans, the coronavirus pandemic is changing everything about pregnancy. Fertility treatments are indefinitely on hold for many women; some hospitals are barring visitors, including partners of women in labor; and some women are now considering home birth instead of going to the hospital.
- Markets open, floor closed. For the first time since the New York Stock Exchange opened a formalized place to buy and sell shares in 1871, that trading floor will be closed while markets remain open starting today. NYSE president Stacey Cunningham last week emphasized that markets "should remain open and accessible to investors" despite the in-person safety precautions. Fortune
- Big bucks. Karla Jurvetson, a Bay Area psychiatrist, gave $14.6 million to a super PAC supporting Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the final days of her campaign for president. The just-disclosed donations make Jurvetson the woman to donate the most money in the presidential race so far and a sought-after backer for the general election. Re/code
- Prison outbreak. Well, all plots had to converge at some point. Harvey Weinstein has reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus from prison; after being convicted of rape and sentenced to 23 years in prison, he was briefly held at Rikers Island, which is facing an outbreak of COVID-19. BuzzFeed
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Lora Shiao will be the new acting director for the National Counterterrorism Center.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- 'Es is ernst.' Angela Merkel gave a rare televised address to Germany last week, making clear the gravity of the coronavirus crisis. "This is serious," she told Germans, adding that the country hasn't faced such a crisis since World War II. Merkel herself is now self-isolating after a doctor she saw recently tested positive for COVID-19. New York Magazine
- 'Non-essential?' Ohio has ordered abortion clinics in the state to stop performing the procedure during the coronavirus outbreak. The attorney general told abortion providers to stop performing "non-essential surgical abortions," defined as "those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient." Abortion rights activists argue that the procedure is inherently time-sensitive and that delays will increase risks and make the procedure even more inaccessible. It's a fight we may soon see in more states. CBS News
- Hall of famers. Polly Smith, Hinda Miller, and Lisa Lindahl invented something most Broadsheet readers probably use every day (especially at home these days!): the sports bra. The trio, who came up with the idea five years after Title IX gave girls equal access to sports in school, are among the 2020 inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. NJ.com
- Self-made millionaire. Run out of shows to watch already? New on Netflix is Self-Made, a mini-series about America's first self-made female millionaire. Octavia Spencer plays Madam C.J. Walker, the black hair mogul in the project directed by Kasi Lemmons. Vogue
ON MY RADAR
Here’s what parents dealing with coronavirus isolation want you to know BuzzFeed
Inside one of the service industry's riskiest jobs during the coronavirus crisis Texas Monthly
The coronavirus outbreak is 'like a nightmare' for people with eating disorders BuzzFeed
-Peloton instructor Robin Arzón