More Women Being Pushed Out of the Workforce as Offices Reopen

Young businesswoman holding box of personal belongings about to leave office after quitting job stock photo
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Working mothers have, again, been put into a tough situation as more companies are beginning to call workers back to the office. Millions of women have been forced to leave the workforce since March 2020 due to lack of child care and in-person schooling, reports Bloomberg.

See: 3 Alarming Ways Women Are Lagging Behind Men When It Comes to Their Finances
Find: 4 Essential Tips for Moms Re-Entering the Workforce

In the U.S., 1.8 million fewer women were employed in May 2021 compared to February 2020, reports Bloomberg. This is during a time when many states are struggling with worker shortages and ending unemployment benefits to encourage people back into the labor force. Child care centers are also feeling the effects of the labor shortage, leaving many families no other option than to be put on a long waiting list.

For many families, this has resulted in a part-time schedule or for a parent to leave the workforce — usually the mother — in a two-parent household, reports Bloomberg. It was also noted that finding reliable, affordable child care is a struggle for working families.

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More: Universal Child Care Would Boost Women’s Earnings by $130 Billion

“We’re really concerned about permanent scarring from this crisis,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in March, reports Axios.

Bloomberg noted that there are additional factors at play. First, children are still not eligible for the vaccination and parents could still transmit the virus. Second, while many companies provided emergency care, parents are also not confident about returning to the office on a regular basis. And lastly, it’s not easy to find good child care.

Related: Parents Quit Jobs, Build Debt to Pay for Child Care
Learn: Families of Nearly 10 Million Children Could Receive Free or Reduced-Cost Child Care

“When women are not maximized in the labor force, they are earning less, they are spending less, there’s less tax revenue. And there’s less economic growth,” Nicole Goldin, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Program, tells Axios.

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Last updated: June 17, 2021

About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.

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