The pink recession, or “she-cession” has hit America’s moms particularly hard. This is one policy area we simply must get right.
“It’s all just too much” – My 6-year-old granddaughter said that last week when she couldn’t make herself get on the bus. I feel her pain. The effects of the pandemic have been felt disproportionately by moms. Whether they work for pay or not (all women work, just so we’re clear), they are also the ones shouldering most of the “second shift” (running the household) and now the “third shift” (logistics, planning, calendaring and looking after the emotional health of the family) are leaving moms exhausted and stressed. And, the economic impacts of a recession that hit women harder, with slower recovery, well, those effects might well ripple down for more than a generation. I wrote about this shecession for the Deseret News this week. You can read that piece here.
How are Utah’s lawmakers helping? – Becky Jacobs, of the Salt Lake Tribune asked all 104 state legislators “What are you doing to help women to successfully emerge from the pandemic?” Not even a quarter of the legislators responded, but of those who did, responses focused on decreasing expenses (affordable housing, a cap on phone rates from county jails), raising income (increasing the minimum wage, which failed to pass), providing parental leave for state employees, making the Internet more accessible, which both increases women’s opportunities for remote work and increases their children’s ability to do remote school and access to and affordability of childcare. (Salt Lake Tribune)
The village evaporated – Lorinda Roslund, a 37-year-old mother of 2, thought she was prepared for an emergency by building a solid savings account, living close to parents, starting her own business and taking on a second job to diversify her income stream. The pandemic blew it all out of the water. “They say it takes a village to raise a child, and, you know, the village kind of evaporated when the pandemic came along,” she says. Some jobs, across many sectors, don’t allow flexibility in childcare. Emile Nelson had to quit her job as a legal secretary when her daughter’s daycare closed and her and her boss would not let her work remotely, or bring her daughter to work. Some university professors have been told they cannot have their children at home while they’re teaching (!!). Emile says she’s surviving – on luck. (Forbes)
Critical pandemic trend – Some 275,000 women left the workforce last month, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with 71,000 men. And women make up more than half of the 7 million people considered “out of the workforce” in the report — who aren’t counted as unemployed — but who currently want to work. Overall, nearly 2.4 million women have exited the workforce since last February, compared with less than 1.8 million men. Women of color are the hardest hit by the effects of pandemic joblessness. Some of the jobs women lost during the pandemic simply are not coming back. “The consequences for women could take years to recover from, and we don’t have years to wait. Families don’t have years to wait,” one expert said. (NBC News)
A one-two-three punch – Hit hard by job losses and the pandemic’s effect on schooling and child care, American women face short-term difficulties and long-term repercussions. The first punch was the economy being hit the hardest and earliest were ones where women dominate – restaurants, retail businesses and heath care. The second punch was when the pandemic began taking out local and state government jobs, also an area where women outnumber men. The third punch – the knockout punch – was the closing of child care centers and schools. Recessions usually start by gutting the manufacturing and construction industries, where men hold most of the jobs. This one is different. The impact could stretch over generations, paring women’s retirement savings, and reducing future earnings of children now in low-income households. “We are creating inequality 20 years down the line that is even greater than we have today,” said Ms. Stevenson, who was a member of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. “This is how inequality begets inequality.” (New York Times)
Finally, you can watch last week’s webinar with national experts on “Women Bearing the Brunt”