How COVID Has Crushed Working Women

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By WGBH. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In 2019, women were doing exceptionally well in the workplace — hitting record-setting workforce participation numbers, holding more non-farm payroll jobs than men for only the second time in history (in 2009, they had also briefly outpaced men, as men lost jobs more quickly during the Great Recession).

Then came COVID-19, which disproportionately affected women and particularly women with children.

Over many months, the issue of child care has “slowly come to a boil” as working parents, and especially working mothers, have found themselves forced to simultaneously manage their careers and care for children stuck at home due to pandemic-driven school closures. Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist in the Labor Department under President Obama and a professor at the University of Michigan, has spent the past year monitoring how the pandemic has pulled the progress of women in the workforce back decades. Stevenson argues that the “insanity” of the U.S.’s lack of infrastructure, to support working parents, has forced women out of the labor force and will require bold political solutions post-pandemic.

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