SACRAMENTO, CA – May 13, 2022 – The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls thanks Governor Newsom for the continued support of women and girls in the proposed May budget revision. Over the past year, the Commission has seen unprecedented growth as the need for investment in women’s economic recovery and access to reproductive healthcare has become ever more critical.
We appreciate the proposed investment in the Commission’s expanding work and are thrilled to see an increase in investment in our efforts to help women recover from the strain of the pandemic crisis. The newly proposed Commission staff positions in the Governor’s May Revision will support the Commission’s efforts locally and statewide as we continue to focus on women’s economic recovery.
We know that a significant ongoing structural investment is needed to rebuild the California care economy to keep women working and advancing toward equity. Women are essential, and we urge the Legislature to continue to examine proposals for ongoing investment in their full economic recovery, including the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls’ proposal for continuous investment in a dedicated Women’s Recovery Response.
Women and girls in California have struggled in the workforce, caring for their families, and staying mentally well during the pandemic. One key finding from The Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s University shows that 25% of women in California were unemployed compared to only 20% of men, as COVID-19 initially impacted the economy. Recovery from this will take years if not decades and will require ongoing support.
The Covid-19 pandemic upended life as we know it in almost every respect – but for lots of California women, the challenges it imposed were ones they were already facing. Women face higher barriers in reentry to the workforce and a persistent gender wage gap that meant they had less savings, smaller retirement savings, and were concentrated in less flexible jobs when the crisis hit. As we move into the third year of the pandemic, with the long-term consequences still unknown, these economic gender disparities continue to put California at risk. We cannot be satisfied with a return to “normal” as pandemic restrictions ease. This is an opportunity to do better.
With a nearly 100-billion-dollar budget surplus, California has the means and the opportunity to invest in real economic recovery from the pandemic crisis for women and girls. The proposed childcare fee waivers for up to 40,000 families is a critical first step in filling the gaps in our care economy and we are grateful to the Legislative Women’s Caucus for their advocacy and to the Governor for this proposed investment.
The Commission also applauds the proposed $125 million investment in reproductive health and the efforts to provide business incentives for companies seeking to move to California from anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ states. The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls stands ready to do whatever is required to protect the rights to privacy, choice, access to healthcare, and self-determination. We are proud to administer the largest privately funded abortion access program for CSU and UC students in the state and are ready to step up and support women and girls in California and from out of state. We are excited to see funding proposed for the California Reproductive Justice and Freedom Fund and we are grateful to Legislative Womens Caucus and all this effort’s champions of reproductive freedom in California.
We appreciate the support and advocacy from the Legislative Women’s Caucus and both Senate and Assembly budget committees and look forward to working closely with our legislative Commissioners to ensure that women in our state have half the seats at every table where decisions are made.
About the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls
The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls works in a culturally inclusive manner to promote equality and justice for all women and girls by advocating on their behalf with the Governor, the Legislature and other public policymakers, and by educating the public in the areas of economic equity including educational equity, access to health care including reproductive choice, violence against women and other key issue areas identified by the Commission as significantly affecting women and girls.
Darcy Totten, Director of Communications