Throughout this pandemic, we have has seen a devastating impact on our workforce. With the extended lockdown and restrictions, many people were either forced out of their jobs or forced into a new normal. For working parents, their work-life balance blended when local governments urged everyone to stay home by shutting down schools and nonessential businesses and travel. One year later, we are left with an astounding 2.5 million women in the U.S. who have left the workforce.
Limited Access to Child Care
The pandemic caused nearly 100,000 American businesses to permanently close. Unfortunately, the essential need for childcare centers was eradicated due to the stay-at-home mandate.
“And roughly 40% of childcare centers surveyed in July by the National Association for the Education of Young Children reported that they were doomed to shutter permanently without significant government assistance – which never materialized.”
According to the National Women’s Law Center, between August and September, a record number of 865,000 women left the job market. Experts have connected this movement to limited childcare resources and remote learning. For many parents, school is an affordable and dependable solution for childcare. Yet, when schools announced that they would continue functioning remotely, many families were faced with a dilemma. Their jobs haven’t necessarily vanished, their support systems have. Parents are now 100% responsible for their child’s education and wellbeing, while still maintaining a high-performance level at work. Without the support of education and care institutions, these obligations have fallen disproportionately on women. In turn, we are seeing many more women pushed out of their work to take on traditional childcare responsibilities.
Deep-Rooted Gender Imbalances
For more than a century, women in this country have fought for an equal place in the job market. According to Forbes article titled Covid-19 Is Forcing Women from the Workplace in Record Numbers – And We Don’t Know When They’ll Be Back:
“Prior to the start of the pandemic, for the first time in a decade, women surpassed men as a majority in the U.S. workforce. The Labor Department released a report at the end of 2019 that showed women held 50.4% of jobs.”
Although we’ve come tremendous lengths towards gender equality in the workplace, statistically men are still making the highest income in households. Along these lines, two in three workers for lower wage jobs are women, to which many of these positions were suspended or terminated in last year’s economic deficit. Therefore, we are seeing more women leave the workforce throughout the pandemic due to the limited childcare resources and the admitted gender wage gap.
Many female-dominated industries such as salons, education, childcare, and hospitality were hit the hardest in the COVID-induced recession. These industries are still struggling to regain economic momentum. A few statistics published by Time Magazine state,
“hospitals began furloughing nurses and medical assistants who primarily worked on elective procedures. Daycares, struggling with plummeting enrollment and skyrocketing overhead costs, laid off 250,000 plus workers. By April, 72% of housekeepers had reported being abandoned by all their clients. Restaurants, which lost all their dine-in business overnight, laid off their servers – 70% of which are women.”
America is known for its competitive market. Therefore, any time off can have significant setbacks for future promotions or career growth. For instance, upon returning to the workforce, companies may not consider hiring a candidate who has been out of the job market for a period of time, over someone who has never left. In this case, women who have left the workforce in the past year, may have an uphill battle reestablishing their place in the workforce. The Remy Corporation stands by all displaced women. Contact our team if you or someone you know is struggling to find their next job opportunity.
The truth is, taking women out of the workforce will not only hurt the individual, but it will negatively affect the economy. As we see our economy recover, it can’t reach its fullest potential without women’s participation. Women make up around 51.1% of the nation’s population. For our economy to thrive, we need an equal number of women employments. Women have a significant impact on the workforce, and we need their participation now more than ever.
- Connley, Courtney (2020, October 2). More than 860,000 Women Dropped Out of the Labor Force in September, According to New Report. [Blog post] Received from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/02/865000-women-dropped-out-of-the-labor-force-in-september-2020.html
- Ellingrud, Kweilin & Segel, Liz Hilton (2021, February 13). COVID-19 has Driven Millions of Women Out of the Workforce. Here’s How to Help Them Come Back. [Blog post] Received from https://fortune.com/2021/02/13/covid-19-women-workforce-unemployment-gender-gap-recovery/
- Silva, Daniella & Miranda, Leticia (2021, February 6). About 2750,000 Women Left Workforce in January in ‘Critical’ Pandemic Trend, Experts Say. [Blog post] Received from https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/about-275-000-women-left-workforce-january-critical-pandemic-trend-n1256942
- Edwards, Kathryn A. (2020, November 24). Women Are Leaving The Labor Force in Record Numbers. [Blog Post]. Received from https://www.rand.org/blog/2020/11/women-are-leaving-the-labor-force-in-record-numbers.html
- NPR (2020, October 2). Multiple Demands Causing Women to Abandon Workforce. [Blog Post] Received from https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/10/02/919517914/enough-already-multiple-demands-causing-women-to-abandon-workforce
- Vesoulis, Abby (2020, October 17). ‘If We Had a Panic Button, We’d be Hitting it.’ Women Are Exiting the Labor Force En Masse – And That’s Bad for Everyone. [Blog Post] Received from https://time.com/5900583/women-workforce-economy-covid/