November 18, 2022

New Studies Indicate Women Have Mostly Kept Working During Pandemic


Group of women working together


Although more women were laid off at the beginning of the pandemic, and many more who were parents saw a significant uptick in their non-work commitments, two new analyses indicate that, despite concerns to the contrary, most women have remained at work and, for some cohorts, have become more likely to work.

As Claire Cain Miller at the New York Times reports, college graduates with babies or toddlers have become significantly more likely to begin work than they were pre-pandemic. This cohort saw a 3.7% increase in reported “at work” status between 2018 and 2021. Additionally, the share of actively working mothers with children,  regardless of degree status,  was up 1.7% in March 2022, compared to 2019.

However, for those with children under 5, there has been a 4.2% drop. Researchers believe this is in large part due to the extreme shortage in childcare options which has forced many mothers out of the workforce.

Women without college degrees have also suffered more, in large part because the work available to them is in-person, while many with college degrees could transition to remote work.  As Miller reports, the idea of a she-cession does not seem to be borne out in the numbers–with class, not gender, being the significant indicator of employment status. 

Miller’s write-up has much food for thought and is well worth a deeper dive.

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