State senators write women are bearing the brunt of the pandemic

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Commentary by Sen. Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix | Sen. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson 

Nearly three million American women have suddenly vanished, and we have no idea if they’ll ever return. We of course mean the women who have been forced to drop out of the labor force over the past year in a COVID-related exodus that will have an impact lasting generations.  

The Pew Research Center reports nearly 2.5 million more women than men lost their jobs from February to May last year. As school buildings closed, women have had to leave jobs to care for children. Female business owners have had to close their doors, not knowing if they’ll ever reopen. Black, Latina and other women of color, already far behind their white male and female counterparts, have been pushed even further into poverty.  

Over a year into the pandemic there is no doubt that women are bearing the brunt of this ongoing social and economic catastrophe. 

Arizona is not immune from this economic crisis. A report from the Arizona Foundation for Women on how women and children have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic outlines the devastation Arizona women have suffered during COVID. In Arizona, 21% of low-income women lack health insurance and 29% of Latina women have no health care provider. This was an alarming reality in pre-pandemic times, but during a global pandemic, it could also be a death sentence. 

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