The American State of Hawaii's Commission on the Status of Women has proposed a new feminist economic recovery plan which seeks to deliver gender equality as we move forward through the coronavirus pandemic. It puts gender equality and the empowerment of women at the heart of its pathway forward, emerging from Covid-19 into a world that repairs climate damage and builds a just society for all. The basis of this feminist economic recovery plan is equity!
According to the Lily, this plan includes:
- A universal basic income
- Special emergency funds for marginalized groups (including undocumented women, domestic workers, women with disabilities and sex-trafficking survivors)
- Waived co-payments for covid-19 tests and treatment (including for incarcerated women)
- A 20 percent pro rata share of the covid-19 response funds the recovery needs of the Indigenous population
- A $24.80/hr minimum wage for single mothers
- Free, publicly-funded child case for all essential workers.
The structure of the feminist economic recovery plan will centre around marginalised people and communities. The plan acknowledges that Native Hawaiian and immigrant women are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change and coronavirus. It also highlights the issues that surround low-income communities, including rural communities and communities of Native Hawaiian ancestry and colour, who are vulnerable to social determinants that result in environmental racism and health issues. These issues can manifest in proximity to toxic industries, lack of access to healthcare, nutritious food or greater stress.
The plan was designed by the state's Commission on the Status of Women and aims to focus more on the unique needs of minority communities to strive for "deep cultural change".
The plan also focuses on a COVID-19 response and recovery that focuses on people who identify as women and acknowledges that they have been impacted disproportionately by the pandemic. Only one-third of the legislative body in Hawaii are women and 60% of those laid off during the pandemic were women. These figures show the lack of female voices in leadership and highlight the need for more representation, which could help alleviate the unequal effects that people who identify as women have to endure in times of crisis.
During COVID-19, women and people of colour have been disproportionately affected including increased job loss, domestic violence and an increase in unpaid work. This exemplifies the inequalities already present in the world but against the backdrop of a global pandemic.
This is a global problem. For real change to happen whether it be protecting the environment, fighting climate change or breaking down racist and sexist structures within society, women need to be part of the discussion and decision making. We hope other states of America and other countries adopt similar feminist economic recovery plans like Hawaii. We need to build up female voices, especially BIPOC female voices when talking about the climate crisis.