Stimulus provides some relief for women — but experts say it’s far from enough

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from The 19th News

Shefali Luthra  | 21 December 2020

Congress is expected to vote Monday night on a long-awaited stimulus package, but experts worry the new legislation won’t undo much of the damage the pandemic dealt to women, who have already emerged as the people most harmed by the virus’ economic fallout.

The $900 billion package, which includes $600 checks for most Americans and a $300 federal unemployment bonus, has several measures to address many issues that disproportionately affect women — including tax credits for employers that offer paid sick and family leave, $10 billion for child care, and $13 billion in SNAP and child nutritional benefits.

Those could provide some desperately needed relief for women across the country, especially with many of the pandemic benefits authorized in the Families First Act from March set to expire at the end of 2020. But many experts worry the bill doesn’t go far enough. At a minimum, they said, it will require a substantial follow-up relief bill after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in next year and the Georgia run-off elections determine which party controls the Senate.

“This bill is, at best, with respect to women and child care and family obligations, helping people tread water for a little while longer,” said Vicki Shabo, a senior fellow for paid-leave policy and strategy at New America, a D.C.-based think tank. “What women need is a robust policy response in the next bill.”