June 26, 2020
TO: Mills College Faculty and Staff
FROM: Beth Hillman
SUBJECT: Mills: Inside and Out
As we head into the last weekend of June, COVID-19 rates are on the rise in California and across the country. I urge you to remain vigilant in your efforts to reduce COVID-19 risk by social distancing, washing your hands frequently, wearing face coverings, and staying home when sick. It will take a sustained, collective effort to turn the tide.
We'll need an effort of similar magnitude to reduce the inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the recession now underway, for the first time ever, women are unemployed at higher rates than men. Stefania Albanesi, a University of Pittsburgh professor of economics, attributes the shift to the fact that women account for 77% of workers in occupations that require close personal contact and cannot easily be done remotely, such as food preparation, front-line health care, and personal service.
This week, at a meeting of the Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, researchers shared some of the negative impact of COVID-19 on academics who identify as women and people of color. They pointed out that COVID-19 has increased gender and racial inequity by magnifying the negative impact of both anti-Black racism on health outcomes and women's greater caregiving responsibilities on economic opportunities. I look forward to the fall publication of presenter and Vanderbilt University professor Dr. Ebony Omotola McGee's Black, Brown, and Bruised: How Racialized STEM Education Stifles Innovation by Harvard Education Press, and to more research that can help us address these critical disparities
Finally, some good news from the recent budget deliberations in Sacramento: Governor Gavin Newsom's and the state legislature's latest proposed budget protects the Cal Grant award for students who will attend independent, nonprofit colleges and universities in the upcoming academic year. This is a big win for Mills students, and for students across the state of California who are seeking to improve themselves and their communities through education.