Women worked hard to get to where they are now: A record number of female CEOs run Fortune 500 companies, and nearly two-thirds of working women managed to hold full-time careers while raising children. A few decades ago, both of those accomplishments would have been unthinkable.
But working women could now face another setback, brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing economic shutdown. Thousands of jobs have been cut, and women have been disproportionately affected because they tend to make up service and retail jobs — two industries that were forcibly closed during the shutdown. Women may make up 47% of the workforce, but they accounted for 54% of the coronavirus-related job losses, according to the Wall Street Journal.
To make matters worse, many of the working mothers who did not lose their jobs have another difficult choice to make: continue to build their careers or stay home and educate their children. With schools shut down and students at home, both mothers and fathers have had to step back or away from their jobs altogether. Women have done more of it, according to a recent study by McKinsey & Co. At least 1 in 5 working mothers admitted that they are considering dropping out of the workforce, if only temporarily, the study found. Only 1 in 10 men said the same.
Of course, many mothers will admit that this wasn’t a choice at all. Their children come first, and so, this is a sacrifice worth making. But it is a sacrifice nonetheless — one that is not lost on the many mothers who have worked hard for their career achievements. Take, for example, Dr. Kate Deisseroth, who worked as an orthopedic surgeon for the past two decades. When the pandemic hit, she was able to begin consulting with patients from home, and many of her colleagues helped take on some of her work. But this system is no longer sustainable, she said. And she knows that if she decides to move on elsewhere, her career will be over.
“As a surgeon, you can’t take a year or two off and go back in, so it would kind of be the end of that career,” she told the Wall Street Journal.
Companies are hopeful, however, that the changes the coronavirus has forced upon the working world (the ability to work remotely and a greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling) will help women in the long run, even if they must suffer a setback right now.
Tags: Opinion, Family Issues, Gender Issues, Coronavirus, Labor
Original Author: Kaylee McGhee
Original Location: Working women