Are workers in the workplace waiting for mothers who have been hit by the epidemic? | Business and Economy

Louisville, Kentucky, USA – Patricia Everson feels shut down. The 33-year-old single mother of the couple was working hard to pay the bill to move into the big apartment. But when the coronavirus epidemic recently forced an organization working in Louisville, Kentucky, to drastically reduce its time, he felt he had no other choice but to leave.

“It didn’t make sense to stay a few days a week,” he said.

Everson, like many mothers who were abandoned or abandoned during the epidemic, is now looking for a new job – one that will pay the bill and allow her to stay close to her child with asthma and infection.

“I just feel lonely with me and my kids,” Everson explained.

Women, especially mothers and women of color have been crushed by the epidemic. Many have been forced to take up unpaid roles in full-time, child care, education and senior care while continuing to manage their full-time, paid work. Others, such as Everson, have dropped out of the workforce due to epidemic pressures.

Although America is recovering the job markets of the United States More slowly than in the wider economy, Analysts fear that women have lost years of progress in terms of workplace participation. At the same time, they see the epidemic as an opportunity to change the way they treat working parents – one that values ​​the benefits that women and especially working mothers bring and gives them the flexibility to improve at home and at work.

Patricia Iverson, like many mothers who were left behind during the epidemic, is now looking for a new job [File: Laurin Whitney Gottbrath/Al Jazeera]

Shoulder weight

Since the epidemic began in full swing last April, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 3.5 million mothers with school-age children have given up active work. The Wall Street Journal reported that about 1.5 million fewer mothers were active in March each year than in February.

Don Morgan Nairi, 42, is one of them. Newari spent the first part of the epidemic on maternity leave. When he returned to his job as a public affairs officer in Maryland in July, he faced a steep teaching feeling because he was already accustomed to remote work with his team.

Bringing some flexibility to spend time with her daughter and baby boy while working from home, she said she was not allowed to keep the kids at home during the meeting and her boss did not have the opportunity to work outside during normal business hours. So when she found her son, who had started crawling too early in November, wrapped in a power strip under his desk, he knew it was time to leave.

“Since I went to grade school later in life, I did significantly less than my husband, it just made sense that I would quit the job,” Nary said.

This shocked many women, as mothers, especially blacks, Latina and Asian women historically carried the burden of housework and childcare.

It just made me realize that I would quit my job

Don Morgan Nayari, mother of two

“We initially saw women who didn’t want to go back to work, even if they could work from a distance, because they couldn’t do their regular job after eating what happened around the house,” said Diane Lim, a Washington, D.C. -Zonal Economist and Economist Mom is the author of the blog.

“This is why this‘ se-session ’has become more‘ se-session ’,” she said, adding that some economists and the media have used the term to describe the recession that is mainly affecting women.

As schools reopen and women consider returning to work, Lim says he believes women will have “higher demand for their jobs.”

For example, Nairi will not return to work until her children have been vaccinated, but considering her options, she knows she wants to work part-time. She says it probably means changing her field of work completely to meet the needs of her family.

“I finally have to work again,” she added, thinking about nursing. But now “it is worth giving up. I have learned that I no longer want to send my children back to day care. “

We are at a crossroads

Amelia Costigan, Catalyst

Lost progress?

Since the epidemic began, about 33 percent of working mothers have considered reducing their careers or quitting their jobs altogether, according to a recent McKinsey study.

Closing the gender pay gap could potentially have an impact on women’s progress and gains that could be better represented in leadership roles.

Even before the epidemic began, mothers in the labor market were “motherly punished.” According to the National Center for Women’s Law (NWLC), Wednesday was “Mother’s Equal Pay Day, it marks how many years mothers have to work alone, what fathers alone have to do last year.”

It didn’t make sense to stay a few days a week

Patricia Everson, the mother who quit her job because of the epidemic

Full-time working mothers made $ 0.75 for every dollar paid to fathers in 2019, resulting in a loss of $ 1,275 per month and an annual loss of 15 15,400. Maternity pay gap is even worse for women of color. Latina mothers paid only ৪ 0.4 per dollar for white, non-Hispanic men, $ 0.50 for Native American mothers and $ 0.02 for black mothers.

Still, “before the epidemic we were able to say that we had made progress,” said McKinsey’s colleague Jess Huang.

“If mothers resign [of the workforce], If women resign, it could erase all the progress we have made in the last six years [since McKinsey has been tracking the issue]”And it’s a really big deal, because we know that when companies have gender diversity and when companies have women at the top … they outperform other companies and that’s good for business,” she said.

It is a matter of concern for economists and other staff partners to support women. However, they also say that the epidemic provides an opportunity to change the unjust reality that mothers have long experienced in the workplace.

“I think we’ve come to a crossroads,” said Amelia Costigan, senior director of Catalyst’s information center, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of women in the workplace. “We can use it as a call to change and correct these mistakes, or people who have been tired of COID for a year and a half can just say, ‘Let’s get back to business as usual.’

A transfer?

There are already some promising signs. The latest COVID-19 relief package, signed by President Joe Biden, includes more than bn 39bn to support child care providers and make child care more affordable.

Biden also proposed a multi-million dollar infrastructure package that includes funding for universal preschool, child care assistance, a national family and medical vacation program, and the expansion of child tax credit. But the plan faces a final fight with Republicans.

At the same time, many say that agencies need to do more to support working parents. These include child care subsidies, offering more flexible work schedules, redefining productivity and creating opportunities for parents to leave without losing previous progress.

“I think the whole economy is moving towards realizing how valuable our human productive capacity is, and how there is nothing that can make the economy better than having more people,” said Lim, an economist. . “It’s not hard to see … we need to start with our people when we build and grow the economy.”

Local companies such as Iverson, the single mother in Kentucky, Black Lives Matter Louisville, and Black Market, have offered groceries and other expenses when looking for a job.

Last year was tough, but he is optimistic. Her advice to other mothers in the same situation: “Keep your head up. God loves you all. Keep pushing. “

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