Black women are bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic

June 3, 2020, 12:33 PM UTC
A woman wearing a facemask holds a placard during a "Justice for George Floyd" event in Houston, Texas on May 30, 2020, after George Floyd, an unarmed black, died while being arrested and pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer. - Clashes broke out and major cities imposed curfews as America began another night of unrest Saturday with angry demonstrators ignoring warnings from President Donald Trump that his government would stop violent protests over police brutality "cold." (Photo by Mark Felix / AFP) (Photo by MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty Images)

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Stitch Fix feels the sting of the downturn, China defines sexual harassment, and black women are bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic. Have a productive Wednesday. 

– An unequal burdenAs protests continue to gather steam across the country, many media outlets—including Fortune—have turned to economic data in an attempt to illustrate some of the realities that underlie the outrage and despair felt by black Americans.

With headlines like ‘Black workers, already lagging, face big economic risks,’ and ‘An undercurrent of the protests: African Americans are struggling more economically from this pandemic,’ these stories focus on the macro, laying out the multitude of ways in which black people are facing a structural economic disadvantage in the U.S.

Digging a little deeper into the data, there’s also a gender component worth noting. As William M. Rodgers III, a professor of public policy and chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University told the Washington Post: “When I saw the numbers I was not surprised to see blacks, particularly black women, bearing a major brunt of this recession.”

The Post notes that black women have been hardest hit in terms of the employment population ratio, which focuses on the share of people who are working out of an entire group. By that measure, black women went from 58.4% employment in February to 47.4% in April.

Add that blow to the fact that black women have long faced a larger gender pay gap than white women—not to mention their higher likelihood of being overlooked for opportunities and promotions—and it’s clearer than ever that we were wrong about the coronavirus being the ‘great equalizer.’ The economic pain of the pandemic is in no way equal, and black women are feeling far more than their share.

Kristen Bellstrom

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Historic election. Amid the backdrop of nationwide Black Lives Matter protests building on the demonstrations over Michael Brown's death six years ago, Ella Jones was elected the first black mayor of Ferguson, Missouri; the Ferguson City Council member is also the first woman to lead the city. In other results from states that held primaries yesterday, Congressional races throughout the country nearly all involved women; more women than even in 2018 have filed to run for office, an increase largely helped by more Republican women declaring their candidacies. From the effort to challenge Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa, to House races in New Mexico and Pennsylvania, to the election for mayor of Baltimore, see the details and projected winners here

- Two diseases. Dr. Lauren Powell heads Time's Up's work in the healthcare industry, and from the earliest days of the coronavirus, her biggest fear, as a black woman in public health, was the death of a black person by law enforcement setting off widespread protests amid the pandemic. Well, that fear has come to pass. Powell reflects on her "nightmare" scenario and the "two infectious diseases" of racism and COVID-19. STAT News

- California dreaming. Stitch Fix told about 1,400 California stylists for the personalized shopping service that they will lose their jobs unless they relocate to a cheaper city. The company led by founder and CEO Katrina Lake plans to hire 2,000 stylists in cities like Dallas and Cleveland. Wall Street Journal

- Dynamic duo. Sen. Kamala Harris is working to pass a bill that would provide monthly payments up to $2,000 to Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. In a town hall with Andrew Yang earlier this week, Harris pushed for the proposal. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Finastra named Dell Technologies' Margaret Franco CMO. 


- Activists off the field. Six U.S. Women's National Team players spoke to The Athletic about their experiences with racism and about the protests playing out across the country. Hear from athletes Crystal Dunn, Julie Ertz, Adrianna Franch, Jessica McDonald, Midge Purce, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Lynn Williams, who helped to craft the USWNT players' official statement on the death of George Floyd: The Athletic

- Defining the problem. China's legal code had no specific definition of sexual harassment. On Thursday, the National People's Congress enacted largely symbolic legislation defining sexual harassment in the country's civil code; there are not yet any guidelines for enforcement. Reuters

- Risk management. Hanzade Dogan Boyner is the founder and chair of the e-commerce company Hepsiburada, also known as Turkey's Amazon. In this piece for Fortune, she argues that the business world can't allow the coronavirus to slow progress on gender equality. Fortune


A midwife, a train driver and a store worker are British Vogue's latest cover stars CNN

She gave birth alone in the hospital. Six days later, she was back to work as a newsroom CEO facing the pandemic Poynter

The anti-racist reading list Elle

Tiger King's Carole Baskin handed control of Joe Exotic's zoo Guardian


"I am both impatient and disgusted by the fact that as a nation, we seem to be placated by the passive discussion of ‘why.’ Why does this happen?"

- General Motors CEO Mary Barra in her message to employees about the death of George Floyd

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