According to a recent study, when childcare institutions were forced to close in the early months of the epidemic, hundreds of thousands of American working moms lost their employment.
Daycare Closures Have Forced 600,000 Working Mothers In The United States To Quit Their Jobs
The research is only the most recent example of the pandemic’s impact on working women in the United States.
According to the National Women’s Law Center, more than 2.3 million women exited the labor force in the first ten months of the epidemic in the United States. This compares to a little less than 1.8 million males.
The new study focused on the impact of pandemic childcare closures.
It discovered that women’s employment losses were more severe in states that experienced closures in spring 2020. Males’ employment drop, on the other hand, was comparable to that of men in other states.
Across the country, the difference amounted to around 611,000 lost employment among working moms.
The effect was focused among mothers with small children, stated Boston University School of Public Health lead researcher Yevgeniy Feynman.
This, he claims, indicates that child care closures drove many of the excess employment losses.
That is most certainly the case, according to Rasheed Malik, a child care policy researcher at the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan policy center in Washington, D.C.
There was already a substantial link between local availability of child care and women’s engagement in the workforce before the epidemic, he added.
According to Malik, the epidemic has further exacerbated the long-standing issue of child care “deserts.” Working parents in certain parts of the country, which are generally low-income, lack access to cheap, high-quality child care.
According to Feynman’s staff, child care centers in shutdown states will reopen by June 2020. However, while many men and women returned to work, women remained behind as of December 2020, according to the research. They were less likely to be employed than males, and their employment rate stayed below pre-pandemic levels.
Allowing child care centers to reopen did not necessarily alleviate the issues of families.
Malik stated that an estimated 10% of programs were permanently closed. Staff reductions at those that did survive meant that fewer families could be served.
It wasn’t just a matter of going back to the program that already had been in, Malik explained.
The conclusions are based on information gathered from a monthly labor force survey. It comprised approximately 49,000 people from the United Areas, including more than 13,000 from states where child care centers are scheduled to close by April 2020.
Employment decreased dramatically among men and women in all states in April 2020, but women in states with child care closures witnessed the greatest drop. Women were 2.6 percentage points less likely than males to be employed during the shutdown period.
According to the study, this equated to 611,000 job losses among 23.5 million working moms.
According to Feynman, one consequence is that American employees want greater paid family leave, as well as a “cultural change” in which men, as well as women, make use of it.
Malik emphasized several underlying challenges that make obtaining dependable child care difficult, epidemic or not.
He claims that, unlike public education, the child care system is “market-based,” with services concentrated in more affluent regions where families can pay the expense.
Malik stated that the “investment in families” will be returned in the improved productivity of parents as well as the scholastic and social advantages gained by young children participating in high-quality programs.
Another issue is the field’s low salary and rapid turnover.
He referred to these as challenging tasks. Although the work is enjoyable, it is not money rewarding.
According to Malik, poor compensation stems from a “historical prejudice” that undervalues the labor of women, who make up the great bulk of the child care profession.