National data shows that 865,000 women left the labor force in September. Why did that happen and what does it mean for women in the workplace?
“You see a lot of those Main Street businesses owned and operated by women. A lot of them owned and operated by women of color,” Fran Pastore, CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council, said.
Pastore said places like hair salons are where people gather and connect. If those Main Street businesses start folding up then everyone loses.
In Connecticut 100,000 women filed unemployment claims last month, compared to 80,000 men, according to the Department of Labor.
“During the 2008 recession the majority of people on unemployment were men and they were men in higher-paying jobs,” Pastore said.
The pandemic has hit women in low-wage jobs harder than men.
“How are they ever going to catch up? And what is the impact on our social safety net?” Pastore asked.
Older white female executives have also been impacted.
According to a McKinsey & Company report, one in four women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce due to COVID-19. The shift impacts mothers more than fathers because women are more likely to have to stay home with children than men.
That’s in corporate America.
Most of the women Tenesha Grant works with at the CRT’s Women Empowerment Center work in retail or food services. Those industries were hit hard by the pandemic.
“Compounded with the fact that they may have small children at home that they have to get online to do school work with,” Grant said
Grant said coming up with a schedule that works for the employer and online schooling has been challenging.
“Businesses have to operate and they need you there in order to be able to operate them, but you can’t right now because of the challenges of childcare,” Grant explained.
Grant said she’s been trying to help women reinvent themselves in terms of highlighting skills they may have that allow them to be employed at home.
“So just going online and seeing if there are any companies and agencies that are willing to hire them with their specific skill sets,” Grant said.