Man Murdered 26 Elderly Women By Posing As Social Service Worker, Arrested

KEY POINTS

  • Radik Tagirov gained access to his targets’ apartments in the pretext of helping them with their bags
  • He chose to strangle the victims as he believed that it was “fast and painless”
  • The only survivor was a blind woman who could not describe the attacker

A 38-year-old man who targeted and murdered at least 26 elderly women between 2011 and 2012 has been arrested in Russia.

Radik Tagirov, nicknamed “Volga maniac,” was listed as a long-wanted serial killer and was arrested by the law enforcement officers Tuesday from the city of Kazan in southwestern Russia. Tagirov got the nickname because most of his murders were committed in 12 different cities along the Volga river.

Tagirov admitted to the police that he targeted elderly women, between 75 and 90 years old, by posing as a social service or utility worker. After gaining access to their apartments, he strangled the women with his hands or other objects and stole valuables and money.

Police released a video Tuesday that showed Tagirov admitting that he committed the murders. He did not specify the number of murders or when he committed the first one. 

When asked about the motive behind the first murder, he said it happened spontaneously. “I wanted to eat. I lived partly on the street,” he added, reported CBS News. He said he chose to strangle them as he believed it was “quiet, fast and painless for them.”

elderly The man often gained access to the victims’ apartments in the pretext of helping them with their shopping bags. Photo: pixabay

Tagirov also told investigators that he picked his targets randomly from nearby markets or shops and sometimes, he gained access to their homes in the pretext of helping them with their bags, reported CNN. “Sometimes they invited me in, sometimes I talked them into it.. then I strangled them from the back and held until they fall asleep,” he said.

Police used DNA evidence and shoe prints collected from the crime scenes to identify Tagirov. He was a mechanic in Kazan and was previously convicted for theft. He reportedly committed his first murder in 2011. The investigators soon found several murders with a similar pattern in the city the same year.

Investigators said the actual number of victims could be up to 32. The sole survivor of the murder series was a blind woman who could not describe the attacker. In 2017, the federal investigators had promised a reward of 3 million rubles ($40,000) for any information leading to the suspect.

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GIFT GUIDE 2020: Miss social events? Then donate to the organizations that host them

It’s probably a safe bet to say you miss going out. Even with the majority of the state reopened and capacity restrictions eased in restaurants and retailers, our lives are far from back to normal.

In this new era of social distancing, movie theaters and museums are open, but the days of gathering comfortably at concerts, massive outdoor festivals, and church services are still well beyond our reach as COVID cases continue to surge. This year, organizers of block parties and parades cancelled events, hoping to reschedule the festivities for next year– but, at this point, hopes of full scale revelry in 2021 are looking bleak.

The Central Alabama Caribbean American Organization, a Birmingham-area organization devoted to celebrating Caribbean culture– normally has a festival in June to commemorate Caribbean American Heritage month.

Nearly 5,000 people attended last year’s festival in Bessemer says CACAO’s founder and president, Pauline Caesar.

“We were all excited to do it even bigger this year. And then of course, COVID-19 set in. So, out of an abundance of caution, we just cancelled everything.”

Since so many people were looking forward to the festival, the group decided to host a day of digital festivities on June 13, streamed live on Facebook. For a little over four hours, DJs from Birmingham, Los Angeles, and Atlanta played reggae and soca music while officials from various tourism offices and Caribbean islands logged in to give viewers well wishes.

“We decided to do something virtual just to let people know that it was Caribbean Heritage Month, but we wanted to let people know that they were still here and still very much engaged,” said Caesar.

She says CACAO was able to raise about $1,200 from the June event. They split the money in half: Part of the funds went to the organization’s college scholarship fund for students with Caribbean heritage. The group donated the other half of the proceeds to the Equal Justice Initiative.

The pandemic also forced CACAO to cancel its biggest fundraiser of the year– it’s annual December gala. In a normal year, the dinner event helps the organization bring in about $8,000, a pool of money the group uses to fund events and it’s scholarship program.

CACAO has sponsors who have been with them for years, including Blue Cross Blue Shield and Alabama Power. But aside from those donors, it’s up to the group to cover the cost of booking entertainers and the facilities for their events. CACAO also draws a percentage of its income from membership dues, which help cover expenses.

Aside from the virtual festival, the group hasn’t had any additional fundraising events since June. Looking toward next year, Caesar says it’s highly unlikely that the organization will host any large, in-person gatherings, including the festival.

“We definitely don’t think that we will be hosting the festival because the vaccine won’t be widely distributed enough by then for us to convene in any large numbers. So we don’t want to take that risk. Our largest fundraising

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Social distancing meets holiday shopping deals

WELLINGTON — The calendar said Black Friday, but the parking lots at retailers across Palm Beach County indicated it might as well have been a typical Saturday afternoon as shoppers seemingly opted for internet sales because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.



Jesse Stanley, of Royal Palm Beach, loads his Best Buy black Friday purchases inside the Legacy Place shopping plaza in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on November 27, 2020.


© Richard Graulich/palmbeachpost.com
Jesse Stanley, of Royal Palm Beach, loads his Best Buy black Friday purchases inside the Legacy Place shopping plaza in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on November 27, 2020.

The day seen as the apex of the holiday shopping season was almost eerily quiet, and while some stores experienced a busier-than-usual Friday, visits by Palm Beach Post reporters to several area retailers showed a calmer, socially distanced Black Friday and consumers wary of in-person shopping.

More: Black Friday 2020: All the best Black Friday deals to shop on Apple, KitchenAid and more

At the Super Target on State Road 7 at Lantana Road south of Wellington, a modest line of customers stood 6 feet apart before the doors opened at 7 a.m. Friday. Those who entered were required to wear a mask, and only one of Target’s two main entrances was open for the first shoppers. 



a group of people walking in front of a building: Small groups of customers make their black Friday purchases outside the Target shopping plaza in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on November 27, 2020.


© Richard Graulich/palmbeachpost.com
Small groups of customers make their black Friday purchases outside the Target shopping plaza in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on November 27, 2020.

Shoppers inside the store and other retail outlets visited Friday morning mostly kept their distance from others as recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hamper the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

The regulated flow of consumers down popular aisles was a marked change from past years, when people would go elbow-to-elbow as they jockeyed for deals.

More: Black Friday 2020: What to expect this unusual shopping season

Kelly Ramsaran is among those who in the past would have been at Target when the store opened. It became a tradition for her family to head to the retailer after Thanksgiving dinner, with Ramsaran, her siblings and their families tracking down the best prices Target had to offer.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Customers enter the Best Buy on black Friday inside the Legacy Place shopping plaza in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on November 27, 2020.


© Richard Graulich/palmbeachpost.com
Customers enter the Best Buy on black Friday inside the Legacy Place shopping plaza in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on November 27, 2020.

This year, she did almost all of her holiday shopping online.

“I almost went to Old Navy because it opened at midnight but changed my mind,” she said. 

The primary reason behind her decision to shop online: COVID-19.

More: Holiday sand sculpture near completion in West Palm Beach

“I didn’t trust that other people would be socially responsible,” Ramsaran said. “And I didn’t trust that the stores would have enough associates to help keep people distanced.”

Since stores reopened after closing this spring because of the pandemic, Ramsaran said she noticed a shortage in employees at retail stores. That falls in line with reports from national retailers that they have either laid off or furloughed employees because of the economic effects of the pandemic. 



a man standing in front of a store: Jesse Stanley, of Royal Palm Beach, loads his Best Buy black Friday purchases inside the Legacy Place shopping plaza in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on November 27, 2020.


© Richard Graulich/palmbeachpost.com
Jesse Stanley, of Royal Palm

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He and his young accomplices hunted women on social media. The ‘sextortion’ ring case roiling South Korea

Trolling behind the anonymity afforded by an encrypted chat app, the man who called himself “Baksa” pretended he was many things: a no-holds-barred loan shark, a private eye for hire and a fortysomething Korean with a prosthetic leg living outside the law’s reach in Cambodia.



a group of people around each other: Cho Ju-bin, center, the leader of South Korea's online sexual blackmail ring, is surrounded by journalists after his arrest in March 2020 for operating secretive chatrooms where he posted sexually abusive videos of blackmailed women in return for cryptocurrency payments. (Kim Hong-Ji / Pool Photo)


© (Kim Hong-Ji / Pool Photo)
Cho Ju-bin, center, the leader of South Korea’s online sexual blackmail ring, is surrounded by journalists after his arrest in March 2020 for operating secretive chatrooms where he posted sexually abusive videos of blackmailed women in return for cryptocurrency payments. (Kim Hong-Ji / Pool Photo)

In reality he was an out-of-work recent college grad who’d been bedridden for a year after a limb-lengthening surgery to overcome insecurities about his height.

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From his bedroom, Cho Ju-bin, 25, spun illusions and masterminded one of the most notorious sex crime schemes to shake South Korea in years. He blackmailed dozens of young women into providing sexually compromising images and videos, which he sold to tens of thousands of his users. Authorities say he and his collaborators, including a 16-year-old boy, ran the operation through secretive chatrooms on the app Telegram. They hunted for prey through social media and reaped their profits through the cryptocurrency bitcoin.

The case has ignited a fierce debate in South Korea about justice and how to exact punishment for digital sex crimes. The wide-reaching scandal has again exposed an underlying culture of cavalier consumption of material depicting sexual abuse. Among the hundreds being investigated as having joined the chatrooms are police officers and elementary school teachers.

“Because of the level of abuse and the number of victims, collaborators and participants, there was a collective shock to our society,” said Lee Hyo-rin, an activist and victim counselor with the support group Korea Cyber Sexual Violence Response Center.

The scheme is the latest in a series of headlines that have roiled South Korea in recent years involving illicit sex videos or spy cam recordings that have put the country’s women on edge and raised questions about the dark side of the nation’s much-touted internet and smartphone infrastructure and technological adaptation. In 2019, some of the country’s most popular K-pop stars were investigated and convicted of crimes related to the sharing of illegally recorded sexual material, some involving women who were drugged and raped.

Cho — who also called himself “CEO Park” — was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday. Prosecutors had sought a life term. Others accused of conspiring with him to recruit and threaten the victims, advertise the chatrooms and monetize the profits received sentences ranging from seven to 15 years.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: South Korean women rally in support of the #MeToo movement to mark International Women's Day in 2018. (Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press)


© (Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press)
South Korean women rally in support of the #MeToo movement to mark International Women’s Day in 2018. (Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press)

Police say more than 70 women, many of them minors, were lured into providing personal information under the guise of a potential high-paying liaison with an older man and then blackmailed into providing sexually explicit material

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Shop Ridgefield Social Media campaign: $50 gift certificates

Less jingle-turkey this year, but the holidays are still coming.

So, the “Shop Ridgefield Social Media Challenge” — offering $10,000 worth of $50 gift certificates — has been created even as in-person activities, events and even family gatherings are scuttled in the face relentlessly rising COVID-19 numbers.

It’s a shop local campaign designed to help fill in for what the coronavirus pandemic has ruled out.

The traditional ceremonial switch-filpping ceremony that turns on Main Street’s holiday lights — and usually draws hundreds of people to town — will be a “virtual event” this year, on the Friday after Thanksgiving this year.


And the Ridgefield Holiday Village — planned as a four-weekend series of attractions in Ridgefield’s commercial village, between Thanksgiving and Christmas — has been called off.

“Most of the activities of the Ridgefield Holiday Village had to be canceled because of the uptick in COVID cases in town,” said Geoffrey Morris, chairman of Ridgefield’s Economic and Community Development Commission (ECDC).

“However the major activity and the underlying mission of the Ridgefield Holiday Village is not canceled: shopping in Ridgefield stores.”

First Selectman Rudy Marconi told the Nov. 18 Board of Selectmen’s meeting that the Holiday Village, which organizers had put a huge effort into, just couldn’t happen with the town’s COVID rate rising into the “red” zone.

“We need to — unfortunately — cancel the Holiday Village,” Marconi said.

Within a couple of days of Marconi’s announcement, organizers of the Holiday Village — the ECDC, the Downtown Ridgefield merchants, the Chamber of Commerce — had come up with an alternative plan.

(It was their second alternative plan of the season, given that the monthlong Holiday Village had been organized as a less crowded replacement for the one weekend Holiday Stroll, town retailers’ traditional holiday promotion, which was called off months ago due to the pandemic.)

The “Shop Ridgefield Social Media Challenge” has a simple concept: Ridgefielders, Ridgefield shoppers, and their friends are asked to continue supporting local businesses — in person, online, or by a phone order — and get the word out about their shopping experiences through social media.

“We are asking people to record a shopping experience in Ridgefield stores, or when they have a great customer experience via delivery or pickup” Morris said, and share the photos on social media.

How it works

As Morris outlined the program, a customer or visitor who comes to a retailer in Ridgefield, or places an order from one — online, via phone, or email — or receives a delivery, or somehow interacts with a Ridgefield business, would take a picture and post it on social media.

The picture could be a selfie taken in a Ridgefield store, or a photo of a purchase from a local business. The shopper would then “post it on Instagram and/or Facebook and tag the ECDC Facebook page use #ridgefieldholidays2020,” Morris said.

That posted photo, tagged to the ECDC Facebook page, becomes the shopper’s entry to try to earn one of the 200 gift

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How A Brazilian Social Entrepreneur Will Train 2M Women For The Digital Economy

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, social entrepreneur Ana Fontes has been working tirelessly to equip the hundreds of thousands of women who resort to the Women Entrepreneurs Social Network (RME, acronym in Portuguese) to understand how to navigate a fast-moving digital landscape.

With multiple initiatives led under what is the first and largest support network for female entrepreneurs and the support from companies including Google and banks such as Santander, RME currently reaches 750,000 women nationwide. The scope of the organization is now going beyond guidance on how to start and run a business and expanding into a model that includes digital literacy, content, acceleration, mentoring and capital for female entrepreneurs.

Since the emergence of the new coronavirus, RME has raised more than 40 million reais (US$ 7.3 million) to bolster key projects such as a training model that will train more than 50,000 women for the digital economy in the next 24 months. It also includes a Google-backed initiative that will choose 180 businesses led by women every three months, which will receive seed capital and mentoring.

Fontes hopes her fundraising efforts will exceed 100 million reais (US$ 18.4 million) in 2021 to broaden the organization’s reach to 2 million women countrywide: “We are the world’s only entity doing that kind of women-specific work, and we want to attract more companies with a vision that it is possible to make a huge impact through social responsibility and innovation”, she points out.

The entrepreneur is part of the W20, a UN platform that focuses on addressing issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment across the world’s 20 largest economies. She notes that companies have a critical role in promoting diversity and supporting innovation, through programs that support women to participate in a hyper-digital economy.

On the other hand, the social entrepreneur believes that the government also needs to act, in areas such as access to credit policies and inclusion of girls and women in careers related to technology. Despite her transit between decision makers in the corporate universe and her influence in the public policy debate, Fontes says that the dialogue with the Brazilian government has not been easy:

“We cannot mention the word gender in Brazil, or the need for affirmative policies to include more women in the economy and promote their development, because the current government does not believe in such things”, she notes.

“We have an open channel with the G20 in Brazil and we have been stressing the need to discuss these issues, but we have no effective policies, nor a desire for implementing them. But it is impossible to think of an innovation strategy for the country and not to include women in its design”, Fontes adds, referring to a plan to be created by an interministerial committee as part of Brazil’s National Innovation Policy, published through a presidential decree last month.

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Sofia Vergara Greets Husband Joe Manganiello On Social Media On 5th Wedding Anniversary

KEY POINTS

  • Sofia Vergara shared throwback wedding photos on her fifth wedding anniversary with Joe Manganiello
  • Manganiello shared a clip of him and Vergara’s first dance as husband and wife on Instagram 
  • Vergara and Manganiello’s fans flooded their posts with congratulatory and supportive messages 

Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary.

The “Modern Family” star took to Instagram to greet her husband on their anniversary. Vergara shared throwback wedding photos and included a short caption in the post. 

“Feliz 5th anniversary [email protected] [three red heart emoji]you,” she wrote.

The post received positive comments from Vergara’s followers, with many praising the couple. Many also congratulated Vergara and Manganiello on their marriage milestone.

“My favorite couple in the world,” one commented.

“Happy Anniversary!!!!” another user wrote.

“I believe in magic and you!” a third user added.

Manganiello also celebrated the event on social media by sharing a clip of their first dance as husband and wife. 

“Happy Fifth Anniversary mi amor. I love you so much. [red heart emoji],” he wrote in the caption.

Just like Vergara’s post, the “Batman” star’s post was flooded with comments from fans and his fellow celebrities. Many of them wished the couple well.

“This makes my heart swell. Love to you both and congrats,” one wrote.

“HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!” Tom Morello commented.

“Congrats bro @joemanganiello,” Serj Tankian added.

“Damn that was an epic wedding weekend. Honored I got be there,” Geoff Thomas wrote.

Vergara and Manganiello had a whirlwind romance before tying the knot, according to Entertainment Tonight. They met and started dating in 2014. After just six month, the “True Blood” actor and “America’s Got Talent” judge got engaged. They married on Nov. 22, 2015.

Manganiello met Vergara at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in May 2014. It was a love at first sight, but he didn’t make any move because she was engaged to Nick Loeb at the time. He was caught checking Vergara’s famous derriere at the Bloomberg & Vanity Fair Cocktail after-party that night.

“I totally got busted. That was actually funny when we first started dating, months after that,” he said. “We had talked, I guess, or kinda bumped into each other but we didn’t start dating until she was single. She had a boyfriend at that time.”

Meanwhile, for Vergara’s part, she thought Manganiello was too good looking. She was initially hesitant to go out with him on a date when she became single, but her perception about the “Magic Mike” star changed when she started going out with him.

“I didn’t want to go out with him for a long time because I thought he was too good-looking. Like, it’s too much work, and I’m older. I’m 43 years old. I don’t want to deal with a guy that every girl is after, you know?” she told InStyle Magazine in 2015. “But then I gave him a chance. I realized he’s not like a typical handsome guy. He’s not vain. He’s very serious, very straightforward, very

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Strong Women, Serial Killers And Social Issues

2020 was an unusual year and with the end in sight it seems like the right time to see if any unusual trends shaped Korean dramas. A few trends stand out alongside bigger production budgets, more international interest in k-media and more dramas airing on a host of ever-expanding streaming platforms such as Netflix, iQIYI and Wavve. 

Storyline trends that stand out are a surplus of serial killer dramas, with mass murderers featured in at least 10 dramas this year; plus more dramas featuring strong assertive female characters and a selection of dramas that reflect shifting perspectives on social conventions.

Serial killers were featured in Tell Me What You Saw, starring Jang Hyuk; Nobody Knows, starring Kim Seo-hyung; Born Again with Jang Ki-young and Lee Soo-hyuk, The Game Toward Zero with Ok Taecyeon and Lee Yeon-hee, Psychopath Diary with Yoon Shi-yoon and Park Sung-hoon, Memorist, starring Yoo Seung-ho; Missing: The Other Side, starring Ko Soo; Flower of Evil, featuring Lee Jun-ki and Moon Chae-won; Stranger with Bae Doona and Cho Seung-woo and The Good Detective, starring Son Hyun-joo and Jang Seung-jo.

Why was this year a great year for fictional serial killers—from the comical Psychopath Diary to the killer love story in Flower of Evil? The prevalence might reflect recent news stories. In Sept. 2019, with the help of DNA, the South Korean police finally identified the real life serial killer who murdered 10 women between 1986 and 1991. Regarded as Korea’s first serial murder case, it was also the case that inspired Bong Joon-ho’s film Memories of Murder. The case was finally put to rest in 2019, but the terror the memories induced echoed on the small screen in various 2020 storylines.

The second interesting 2020 k-drama trend was strong female characters, a trend that has accelerated over the past few years, with female characters being physically stronger and professionally more powerful than the Cinderella female leads of past years. Every year fewer female k-drama characters need—or want—to be rescued by the male Prince Charming lead. Some of this year’s k-drama heroines were not only strong single-minded women but quite determined in their pursuit of the men they wanted, such as Kim Da-mi’s character in Itaewon Class. A few of 2020’s female characters could be considered—by generally conservative k-drama standards— to be sexually assertive.

In Backstreet Rookie, Kim Yoo-jung doggedly pursued her convenience store boss, played by Ji Chang-wook. The drama generated some online controversy when Kim, playing a high school student, asked Ji’s older character for a cigarette and then kissed him. In Hyena Kim Hye-soo’s scrappy lawyer character starts the drama by seducing Ju Ji-hoon’s character so she can steal his secrets. Then she dumps him. Seo Ye-ji’s character in It’s Okay Not To Be Okay is so

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Chicago program adds social equity to holiday shopping list

Putting a social justice twist on Black Friday shopping promotions, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and community partners have started a campaign to encourage Chicagoans to support Black-owned businesses.

Called Black Shop Friday, the initiative will feature a website listing more than 500 businesses, with the Illinois Lottery donating digital advertising to get the word out. The Chicago Urban League and ad agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul are among those helping the effort.

“It’s not just about one day,” said Karen Freeman-Wilson, president and CEO of the Urban League, referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving that by tradition marks the start of holiday shopping. “This will continue beyond the holiday into 2021.”

She said that by encouraging consumers to support Black-owned businesses, she hopes to chip away at the disadvantages research shows they face, such as poor access to capital. Freeman-Wilson said Black-owned businesses, which are concentrated in services, were hit especially hard by shutdowns earlier in the pandemic and by recent outbreaks of looting.

Milton Latrell, owner of the custom clothier Agriculture at 67 W. Chicago Ave., said he hopes the program can generate foot traffic. “Businesses need an opportunity to offer their services and experiences. Since COVID-19, the only way to separate yourself as a business is to offer excellent customer service,” he said.

Latrell said his store was looted Aug. 10 and business is down significantly because buying habits have changed. “What Mayor Lightfoot is doing — this is so cool to be a part of this,” he said. “We want the chance to show everyone who walks through the door that they’re appreciated.”

The Urban League is completing new research on the financial state of Black-owned firms and hopes the Black Shop Friday program will register in the results, Freeman-Wilson said. She said she hopes to publish the findings in the first quarter of 2021.

The website, BlackShopFriday.com, is due to go live Tuesday with more than 500 businesses listed. Freeman-Wilson said Black-owned businesses that wish to be listed should email Jason Johnson, the league’s director of entrepreneurship, at [email protected]

The O’Keefe firm created the Black Shop Friday campaign and enlisted ad agency Geletka+ for website design. Others volunteering work for the campaign include the Edelman public relations firm. It’s part of an effort run by Michael Fassnacht, an ad agency veteran tapped as the city’s $1-a-year chief marketing officer. He’s devising ways to encourage commerce in Chicago despite the pandemic.

“This inspiring partnership allows Chicagoans to discover the hundreds of Black-owned businesses in our city, driving the investment dollars that are needed now more than ever, and giving everyone a chance to make this new shopping holiday a huge success,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

Milton Latrell, left, and Christopher Brackenridge sell men’s fashion accessories at their store, Agriculture, a custom clothier in the Near North neighborhood.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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The US social safety net has been ripped to shreds — and women are paying the price

Across the nation, people are navigating a new normal: caring for ailing family members; supporting partners through unemployment; turning their living quarters into offices; tending to children between work calls or helping them learn at home.



a person sitting in a living room


© Provided by CNN


To be sure, the pandemic presents challenges for all adults, but the new reality has exposed the inequalities that place an outsized burden on women — in Covid-19 times and in normal times.

When you really consider it, women do the work that a welfare state should do. They often become the fundraisers when school budgets don’t meet kids’ needs; the nurses when their elderly and ailing kin can’t afford the high costs of health care; the mentors when employers fail to train or support new hires; the child care providers when center-based care is too expensive or can’t cover the hours their friends and family need.

Why must women take on these responsibilities? Because the government has systematically underinvested in our well-being, and as a result, people in the US — especially those with limited power and resources — are expected to self-care their way through hard times. Left without a safety net, women have engineered their own. The work of building and maintaining that safety net is taking a serious toll on women. And the only real way to reduce that burden is for state and federal policymakers to build a robust welfare state that does the work women currently do.

The broken safety net

The disproportionate burden placed on women is perhaps most clear at home. Even when women are working full time, and even when they earn more than their husbands, they still do an outsized share of housework and child care, as well as an outsized share of mental labor — making sure bills are paid, birthdays are remembered, appointments are scheduled, school projects aren’t forgotten on the kitchen table and nothing falls through the cracks.

The work it takes to engineer these homemade safety nets is rarely recognized and rarely (or barely) paid. Yet, unpaid labor isn’t free. When women do the work of the welfare state, it comes with a cost for women’s well-being, women’s relationships, and women’s careers.

Those costs are especially steep right now. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the limited US safety net has been totally ripped to shreds. Many schools, child care centers and nursing homes have closed, forcing families to provide full-time care for children and elderly kin. Countless businesses are shuttered or struggling, leaving workers without jobs and often without adequate support to make ends meet. Hospitals are struggling with capacity, leaving the healthy (and sometimes the also-sick) to care for the ailing at home.

Faced with that broken safety net, women are holding the threads. Certainly, many men have taken on additional care work during the pandemic. But, according to recent research, it’s women who have increased their care work even more. One survey conducted this spring of employed parents found that although

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