Everything at Once
Golden State Opportunity (GSO), a 2022 CCSWG Women’s Recovery Response grantee, is a nonprofit dedicated to ending poverty by providing all Californians with the tools to build financial well-being and thrive. Built upon the work of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CCSWG), which released the California Blueprint for Women’s Pandemic Economic Recovery in 2022, this report is a culmination of six discussions with 64 women across the state in roundtables held in Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Imperial and San Mateo counties.
Everything All At Once
Golden State Opportunity (GSO), a 2022 CCSWG Women’s Recovery Response grantee, is a nonprofit dedicated to ending poverty by providing all Californians with the tools to build financial well-being and thrive. With their grant funding, they organized their diverse statewide partner network to bring together low-income women affected by COVID-19 to learn from and share their experiences, as well as provide grants to organizations serving women across California.
GSO has been collecting stories and learning what resources and programs have been accessed during the pandemic, which ones have yet to be accessed, and what challenges and barriers women have faced. The result is the report Everything All at Once, which is a culmination of six discussions with 64 women across the state in roundtables held in Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Imperial and San Mateo counties. Built upon the work of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CCSWG) California Blueprint for Women’s Pandemic Economic Recovery which found that women experienced greater loss in jobs, income, and childcare services and underscored the need to invest in the economic well–being of women, this report seeks to add the voices of women experiencing what the Blueprint data described.
GSO, in partnership with the CCSWG, partnered with elected officials and/or community leaders host public events to share and highlight the stories of women impact nearly four years into the pandemic. Download the full report below.
It is the hope of Golden State Opportunity that their efforts and the final report will strengthen their efforts to elevate and center the voices of the Californians most affected by the pandemic and pre-existing inequitable economic systems. Along with increasing understanding among advocates and policymakers about effective solutions for countering the devastating economic impact of COVID-19 on California women.
Some key findings of the report include:
- Women overwhelmingly cited that the impact of the pandemic was still very much a part of their lives: financially, mentally, and emotionally.
- Plans to create savings, purchase a house, or have money for retirement had to be discarded to cover the rent, health care costs, and other basic needs.
- Ongoing financial setbacks continue to place daily stress, as the loss of financial stability makes them feel ever closer to homelessness or to being unable to take care of medical needs. The mental and emotional traumas they experienced as the caretakers of their family’s well-being loom large over their day-to-day lives.
- Rising inflation and California’s high cost of living further make it nearly impossible for our participants to achieve any degree of economic recovery.
- Accessing safety-net programs has become harder, forcing participants to make nearly impossible financial decisions for their families.
“In order to map the road to recovery, we have to acknowledge that the pandemic’s impacts are still ongoing and likely to last long-term. We must do more to provide services and support for California women who continue to struggle with meeting their daily needs. Leaders have been too quick to try to move past the recovery phase of the pandemic, ending programs like rent-relief and eviction protections when our community members continue to struggle with housing affordability. California has a duty to address these continued impacts and examine what programs can be bolstered so that we provide economic stability for our children and families.”
Centering the Stories of Women Impacted
Building on the charge to examine the long-term income of the pandemic, the CCSWG commissioned GSO to create roundtables around the state for women to share their pandemic experiences and how the pandemic’s impact continues to shape their lives. GSO hosted these discussions in partnership with community-based organizations Barro Action, Black Women for Wellness, Dreams for Change, New Economics for Women, and Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center. The report was a culmination of six discussions with 64 women across the state in roundtables held in Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Imperial and San Mateo counties. See below for excerpts from some of these sessions, presented November 20, 2023 in Sacramento, CA by Raúl Chávez, Ph.D.
“The economic impact of the pandemic on women cannot be overstated. Too many women are still struggling with being underemployed and chronically underpaid due to a persistent wage gap that only increased over the past few years. Women in California have always faced challenges, many of which have only been made worse by the pandemic, all while also holding on to the grief of losing loved ones. Women comprise more than half of the essential workforces we all relied on during the crisis and continue to hold up California communities. Women are now, and have always been, essential to our state’s economy and we must invest in meeting their needs now.”