Today, nearly 60 women-led organizations — including Supermajority and the National Domestic Workers Alliance — announced the “We Demand More” coalition campaign, which calls on political and business leaders to meet the needs of the most vulnerable women in America in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition also unveiled a six-figure ad campaign that will call on senators in battleground states — Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, and North Carolina — to prioritize women in the next relief package.
Women are disproportionately affected by the pandemic as it weakens the economy and heightens crises such as the gender pay gap and low wages. According to the National Women’s Law Center’s data calculations, women also dominate the frontline workforce: 93 percent are childcare workers, 66 percent are grocery store cashiers, and 88 percent are registered nurses.
“When it comes to the needs of the most marginalized women and girls, we were being left behind, left out, and in some cases actively attacked,” Melissa Boteach, the National Women’s Law Center’s vice president of income security, child care, and early learning, told Supermajority News. “There’s power in numbers and power in solidarity, and we decided as a group of organizations that we would be stronger if we came together around a set of specific demands that showed what it means to center women and girls in the economic recovery and in response to the pandemic.”
The “We Demand More” coalition has outlined five demands, the first of which calls for the health and safety of women and their families through affordable healthcare, paid sick time, and the provision of personal protective equipment for frontline workers. The second demand calls for economic “life-sustaining relief” for essential workers, those struggling at home, small-business owners, and to release incarcerated women who do not pose safety risks to society.
“If you want to power the economy and our country back to a more sustainable place and rebuild a more solid foundation, what’s good for women and girls is good for everybody,” Boteach adds.
The third demand calls for childcare sector relief and ensuring state and local governments have the resources to provide affordable healthcare, education, and essential services. The fourth calls for the protection of reproductive health care, and the fifth for protecting elections and democracy during the pandemic.
In the weeks ahead, the coalition plans to lead education briefings and training for supporters, highlight the impact of COVID-19 on women of color through storytelling, and mobilize against disinformation that harms women.
“Whether it’s being unemployed and worried about our family finances or whether it’s people who are trying to balance working remotely with caregiving, all of these decisions are being taken every day by women,” Boteach explains. “It’s very appropriate that women are at the forefront of solutions,” Boteach said, because, “we know that solutions work best when they are designed and driven by the people who are most directly affected by them.”