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Women Hardest Hit by Pandemic’s Impact on the Workforce

With so many schools across the country operating remotely, women are facing significant hardships in their ability to meet their work responsibilities. In an August study by the U.S. Census Bureau, women were three times more likely to have left their positions during the pandemic because of childcare responsibilities than men. The economic impact for working moms is estimated at $341 billion, with about 60% of the jobs eliminated in the first wave of layoffs from the pandemic held by women. ( Single working moms lost more jobs than those women with more support. The female labor force participation rate dipped below 55% for the first time since February 1986.

For female workers in the retail industry, this work-life balance is particularly challenging. Retail work schedules often vary by week, and many employees are not able to select the hours they work. As a consequence, many women are not able to keep their positions and have to drop out of the workforce. The New York Times reported that most companies are not collaborating with these employees to find ways to accommodate their need to supervise their children during online school. Without a union to back them up, these women lack the power to negotiate for better accommodations.

Some companies have offered benefits to assist parents with their childcare responsibilities. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Salesforce are offering extra weeks of paid leave for employees needing to take care of their kids. Salesforce is allowing employees to work from home as long as their kids are in remote learning. Google is allowing its employees to work from home through next June. Amazon, Netflix, and Nvidia Corp. are paying for employee memberships to childcare services, facilitating their employees' ability to find alternate childcare.