By KIM BELLARD
If you are a working mom, or married to one, or simply know one, you know that it is tough to balance a job and raising a child even under ideal circumstances. Even if she has a supportive spouse, chances are that it is the mom who ends up providing the most child care, and whose career it impacts the most.
But, of course, these are not ideal circumstances. Prior to the pandemic, women had made great strides in the workforce; more women had payroll jobs than men, for example (although they continued to be paid less for them). Those gains quickly came crashing down once the pandemic hit. It is believed to be the first time that job and incomes losses have hit women harder than men. Some are calling our pandemic-driven economic downturn a “shecession” as a result.
That’s bad enough, but the even bigger danger is that the pandemic could set back women’s careers for a generation.
A recent study by Collins, et. alia confirmed what most might have guessed: in the wake of the pandemic, women are more likely than men to have reduced their work hours to take on additional child care responsibilities due to school/daycare closing — four or five times as much.
The study found that:
Scaling back work is part of a downward spiral that often leads to labor force exits—especially in cases where employers are inflexible with schedules or penalize employees unable to meet work expectations in the face of growing care demands.
We are also concerned that many employers will be looking for ways to save money and it may be at the expense of mothers who have already weakened their labor market attachment.
Even more worrying, lead author Caitlyn Collins, a professor at Washington University, says: “Our findings indicate mothers are bearing the brunt of the pandemic and may face long-term employment penalties as a consequence.”Continue reading…