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The Pandemic Is Pushing Mothers Out Of The Workforce. What Will It Mean Long-Term?




The children of the photographer study for school with their mother during an ongoing lockdown during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on January 29, 2021 in Dinslaken, Germany.
The children of the photographer study for school with their mother during an ongoing lockdown during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on January 29, 2021 in Dinslaken, Germany.
Lars Baron/Getty Images

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When schools and childcare centers closed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, many working mothers took up the slack. 

Often, this came at the expense of their jobs or labor force participation. In February 2020, women held more than half of the jobs in the United States; by fall, women were dropping out of the labor force at four times the rates of men. A recent New York Times piece profiling three working American women highlighted the often disproportionate childcare load women take on, whether as single parents or in heterosexual relationships. The burden is particularly felt by women of color, who are more likely to have lost their jobs and are on the front lines as essential workers at higher rates. As a result, white women and wealthier women are more likely to leave the labor force completely, while women of color and low-paid women are more likely to make changes to their work schedules and rely on other child care solutions instead.

Are you a working mother? Have you considered leaving the labor force? How have you adapted your childcare during the pandemic? We want to hear from you. Comment below or give us a call at 866-893-5722.

Guests:

Kathryn Edwards, economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School; she tweets @keds_economist

Sarah Jane Glynn, sociologist and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who co-authored the report, “How COVID-19 Sent Women’s Workforce Progress Backward