COVID-19 impact, economics, health, women, workforce


This paper analyzes national and global statistical data and reports to investigate the status of women in the workforce subsequent to the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, identify issues, and propose a path forward. The disproportionate adverse effects of the pandemic included higher unemployment rates among women and greater job losses within female dominated industries and women owned businesses as compared with men, and health challenges heightened by pandemic-related stresses. Further, the responsibility for compensating for the sudden removal of accessible childcare services which followed school and daycare disruptions and closings nationwide, overwhelmingly fell to women—whether they were single or married. Some analysts report that the pandemic served to reassert the unequal division of labor in the household between men and women. Researchers have posited that the pandemic’s impact will retard women’s progress in the workforce for decades if not generations. Strategies for counteracting these effects must entail targeted measures focused on promoting women’s re-entry in the workforce including: the normalization of flexible work schedules to foster a more balanced home and work-life for women, increased family leave for mothers and fathers, more quality and affordable childcare as well as more onsite childcare facilities to meet employees’ needs.

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