Women in California continue to see a systematic erosion of their well-being and economic status – and this trend has intensified since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for low-income women and women of color.

In 2022, following the publication of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CCSWG) Blueprint for Women’s Pandemic Recovery, Golden State Opportunity received a grant from the Commission to hold a series of roundtable discussions with impacted women with lived experience so that their stories and voices can empower and inform policy decisions made on their behalf.

The report, “Everything at Once”: The Status of California Low-Income Women Nearly Four Years into the COVID-19 Pandemic, highlights the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on California women’s well-being and economic status. 

“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,” said Amy Everitt, president of Golden State Opportunity. “We must do more to provide services and support for California women who continue to struggle with meeting their daily needs. California must address these continued impacts and examine what programs can be bolstered to provide economic stability for our children and families.”

What they shared with us and is included in the report is a stark detailing of how COVID has continued to hamper their economic well-being, wiping out their savings and retirement accounts, how the caregiving burden impacted their mental health, and the lasting trauma of losing loved ones. 

They also shared with us the challenges they experienced trying to access pandemic relief programs or even filing for unemployment when they were laid off. And once they received benefits, many of them were faced with the impossible challenge of the benefits cliff where they had to choose between making a little more money and finding themselves ineligible to receive resources they needed to make ends meet. 

Leaders have been 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. 

At Golden State Opportunity, we are working to end poverty by empowering our working families, so that they don’t have to choose between buying food for their kids or paying their bills. We know this starts with ensuring everyone can access all the programs available to them and, both through the roundtables and in our daily work. 

Download the report