Economic Inclusion and Climate Equity

Report cover "Women Putting in Work: The Economic Self-Determination of Women and Girls in Post-COVID Los Angeles County" featuring an illustration of women and children

Summer 2021

By USC Equity Research Institute

Women Putting in Work creates a baseline of understanding of women in LA County during the COVID-19 pandemic. Women and girls have always been in a more precarious position, especially if they are women of color, immigrants, gender non-conforming, or hold other marginalized identities. This report both identifies the systemic inequities holding women back, in conversation with their resilience. Ultimately, it offers a set of recommendations for how to change policy so that women are not required to be resilient – so that they live in a world that sees them and supports them.


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The COVID-19 pandemic has ripped through the heart of the Los Angeles region. Few have been left unscathed, least of all women of color—Black, Indigenous, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latina, mixed race, and others as well as non-cisgender women, the elderly, those with disabilities, and immigrants.

In December 2020, in the depths of the shut-down, it was reported that while there were economic gains, in the middle of a pandemic economy, net job losses were going to women. Women have carried the brunt of the economic pain.

So how will women rebuild? What can we do, countywide, to shoulder and unload the burden?

Here are a few of the recommendations from our report.

Support in-home and frontline workers who are laboring hard, often with little support.

Support caregivers in or out of the home and a robust education system that centers learners who have been left behind.

Ensure access, mobility, and voice for immigrants regardless of status.

End homelessness and secure affordable housing for all.

Continue the push towards universal health coverage and vaccine equity. In light of the current pandemic, it is critical for everyone to have access to medical support.

California has made considerable progress towards making health insurance accessible for all its residents but still has work to do to provide access for immigrants and their loved ones, especially for Latinas—U.S.-born and otherwise. Part of this is making it possible for all people to access vaccines, which may be hardest for those without cars, flexible employers, or internet access. A vaccine gap remains among Latina and African American women that may be fueled, in part, by distrust in government.

Read our other publications by research area

    Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice

    Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.

    Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity

    In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.

    Social Movements & Governing Power

    ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.

    Publications Directory

    In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).

    The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.

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