By CARMEN CHARLES, President, NYC Hospitals Employees Local 420, DC 37 Women’s Committee Chair

As we complete a full year of the COVID-19 pandemic and are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel because of the robust vaccination program that the Biden Administration has put together, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Women’s History Month. 

LEFT: Carmen Charles, NYC Hospitals EmployeesLocal 420 President and Chair of the DC 37 Women’s Committee, at 2019 event. Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera

This past year has been trying on all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a common cause for every human on earth. To no surprise, women have been leading the fight against COVID-19 throughout the entire world. From frontline healthcare workers to teachers and from retail workers to world leaders, women have fought through COVID-19 to keep our nation and world safe from this insidious virus. 

Along the way, women have managed to outperform their male counterparts when it comes to addressing COVID-19. A Harvard study found that countries such as New Zealand and Iceland – both with women prime ministers – rapidly reduced the spread of COVID-19 and lowered mortality substantially better than their male counterparts, especially compared to former U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who both scoffed at the threat of COVID-19 when it first emerged. 

Luckily, in America we reversed course from the horrific failure of the Trump Administration by electing President Joe Biden and breaking the glass ceiling by electing Vice President Kamala Harris, the proud daughter of immigrants. 

The impact women are making against COVID-19 goes beyond politics and governance. A black woman,

A Black woman, Dr. Kizzmekia “Kizzy” Corbett, a viral immunologist at the National Institute of Health’s Vaccine Research Center is responsible for co-developing Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

Even as women are leading the way in this COVID-19 pandemic, in many ways the disease has taken a disproportionate toll on women workers. The jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic have disproportionally affected female workers. Women, who hold the majority of jobs in the healthcare and retail services industries, are on the frontline as essential workers. 

Additionally, the responsibility of childcare and remote education continues to fall on women. Vice President Harris called the job losses for female workers a ‘national emergency.”

As we enter spring, it is my hope that we will vanquish COVID-19, and America can enter some semblance of normalcy. However, I hope that we take the time to learn and acknowledge the need to change to create a more equitable world. COVID-19 and misogyny should both be left in the dustbin of history. 

Happy Women History Month!

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