The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania (UWSWPA), the POISE Foundation and Allies for Children continue to work together to produce The Community Pulse Report. In this month’s report, we continue to focus on indicators for child and family well being, including how the pandemic disproportionately affects low-income, Black, Latino/a/x, and women, in addition to illuminating inequities throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania.
As today marks International Women’s Day, we examine troubling trends as they relate to unemployment and women leaving the workforce. Unemployment rates remain extremely high. However, while males may be more likely to be unemployed, an unsettling number of women are leaving the workforce all together. It is clear that their departure is largely due to the impacts of the pandemic, mainly the lack of childcare. In addition to lack of high-quality early childhood programs, parents now have to think about childcare for their school aged children attending class virtually. Since women often make less than their male counterparts, they are typically the ones to exit the workforce to take care of their children.
As schools and workplaces continue to operate remotely, connectivity is a long-standing area where both public and private industries recognize an extensive need for improvement. The lack of connectivity has left families without the capability to utilize tele-health, has impacted individuals’ options for work and is leaving students without access to their school work. This report left us with more questions to investigate. For those areas in the region without access to connectivity, how are schools serving students? Are students and families ultimately being punished for this lack of access and being marked truant? Next month’s report will explore how schools are handling students who cannot attend virtual class due to access to connectivity and the impact this is having on our most struggling families and communities