As we wrote about in a previous blog post, researchers are starting to piece together more data about the effects of the pandemic on work life. While some of the effects of remote work have been uneven or detrimental, one “silver lining” according to a new study from the Brookings Institute is the employment gains women with children have experienced since the economy began its recovery from the lockdowns.
As the New York Times reports, the overall share of women working for pay is at a historic high, and women with children under 5 years of age are seeing the biggest employment gains. Researchers believe that a major reason for these gains is remote work.
Historically, and for obvious reasons, that demographic has had lower rates of employment, but their participation in the workforce has grown steadily. According to the Brookings researchers, they were making steady gains before the pandemic, but since remote work was adopted at such a high rate, more women, especially married women with college degrees, were able to remain in the workforce or enter it.
Remote work has made it easier for new mothers to juggle childcare and work, for example, as the Times article points out, mothers who would have found it burdensome to commute long distances to the office often carrying breast milk pumping supplies. Now, many women can find remote work where these kinds of burdens are lessened. It also gives women, and men, more flexibility to schedule their work around their childcare duties, a significant change according to the researchers.
However, some of these gains are under threat as federal pandemic funding dries up, warns the Brookings Institute. Berke-Weiss Law is keeping track of these trends and how they can affect workers and their rights.