Welcome to my weekly Q&A roundup. (Scroll down to find the Q&A.)
If this is your first time here, welcome. I spend a fair amount of time speaking at events and conferences. At the end of my presentations, I leave space for audience members to ask questions — tough questions, brave questions, you name it. The level of candor and curiosity always inspires me, and I want to share that sentiment with you. So each week, I pick one question that I believe others would find most instructive and publish my response to it here.
The purpose of this weekly tradition is transparency and inclusivity.
- Transparency: a behind-the-scenes look at my day-to-day.
- Inclusivity: bringing others along in the journey.
How to Help Others in this Period of Acute Crisis (No Money Needed)
Yes, you are a hero by sitting at home on your couch.
It’s in these moments of uncertainty that being brave takes on a whole new dimension — such as catching up on your reading list or streaming more Netflix. And yes, it’s easy to feel powerless, lonely, and defeated in these moments as well. Hands tied behind our backs as we watch the economy fall apart on Twitter.
So I’m writing this article because I want you to know that there’s hope. Right now, we can choose to use our power, to unite, and to fight for the financial health of our nation’s most vulnerable. And we can do it right from the comfort of our homes.
Millions of vulnerable Americans have had or will have their financial security put at risk by the coronavirus. Apart from donating money, what can we do to help?
We need to start by placing the current situation in context to truly grasp what we’re dealing with. The coronavirus is striking at a time when:
- 74% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck
- A $350,000 salary barely qualifies as middle class in San Francisco
- Over one in five Americans are unable to pay all of their current monthly bills in full
- Four in ten adults are unable to cover an unexpected expense of $400
Perhaps that’s why 25% of adults in the world’s most powerful country skipped necessary medical care in 2017 due to the financial burden. Or why, in 2015, for the first time on record, middle-income families no longer made up the majority in America.
Back in November of 2019, when Torsten Slok (the Chief Economist at Deutsche Bank Securities) ranked “wealth inequality, income inequality and healthcare inequality” as the #1 risk to markets in 2020, this is what he was talking about.
Our economy has already witnessed widespread layoffs as a result of COVID-19. New unemployment claims spiked to 3.28 million for the week of March 21. Do you remember what the highest number of weekly claims during the Great Recession peaked at? 661,000.
Unless we act now, women and their families will shoulder the burden of the ensuing financial fallout.
So, what can we do?
We live in a representative democracy, and 2020 is an election year. We can contact our policymakers to practice gender budgeting in forthcoming economic stimulus bills.
Gender budgeting ensures that help goes to those who need it most. Moreover, it ensures the creation of efficient, sustainable policies that will launch our country on a path to equity for all.
Now is our time to bend the arc of history toward inclusion. You can make your voice heard from your living room sofa. If you’d like to act, here’s how to get started today:
- Locate your leaders in Washington D.C. (You have two Senators and one Representative at the national level.)
- Call your Senators and Representatives to request a meeting. You want to discuss the urgency of gender budgeting.
- Use the following suggested resources to make your point on why gender budgeting (i.e. gender mainstreaming) matters now more than ever: How to Vote For Gender Equity in the 2020 Elections, Forget Women’s Issues. Governments Need THIS, Why Women Will Be Hardest Hit by a Coronavirus-Driven Recession
- Call back weekly until you have resolution on your requests.