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– Crisis management. A year ago, women workers were climbing high. Thanks to a booming labor market and their prevalence in areas such as education and health care, female workers have overtaken their male counterparts in the paid U.S. workforce, data shows January 2020.
In one new room by Emma and Fortune Lead writer Maria Aspan, Michael Madowitz of the Center for American Progress, sums up what happened next: “The whole house burned down.”
Emma and Maria’s story scrolls through data that illustrates how horrific the pandemic and the child care crisis that comes with it has been for America’s female workforce:
- 5.4 million women have lost their jobs since last February – 55% of all net job losses in the United States during this period
- Almost 2.1 million women have completely disappeared from the paid workforce
- In September, three mothers were working unemployed for every father who lost a job
- And the big problem: Women made up all of the 140,000 net jobs that the US economy shed in December.
In total, they write, “The pandemic has set back working women by more than three decades – to levels of labor force participation. last seen in 1988. “
It is important to review these figures, but this is what Emma and Maria ask next: what are employers doing about this crisis?
This question elicited some encouraging responses.
IBM is expanding its “return” program, which hires and trains women who have left work.
Target is offering company-paid home or daycare “emergency care” to all US employees until May.
And Verizon has retrained 8,000 workers so they can work remotely when lockdowns close stores. This allowed some of those workers to continue working remotely or part-time when stores reopened, and the company increased its paid child care benefits to $ 15 per hour and $ 100 per day. .
Christy Pambianchi, director of human resources at Verizon, admitted that the programs were expensive. But so does the bearing, she said. “We think it’s really important that our people know, and the company knows, that we are there for them.
For women around the world to get this message, we need policy changes – like more affordable child care – and more business initiatives to add to this list.
You can read the full story of Emma and Maria here.
Today’s Broadsheet was organized by Emma Hinchliffe.