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The ‘She-Cession:’ more and more women leaving workforce amid pandemic

Published: Mar. 14, 2021 at 6:44 PM MDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2021 at 6:45 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Since the start of the pandemic, here in the United States more than 2.1 million women have left the workforce, and they have no plans to return yet.

A new study shows that the pandemic has been much harder on working moms than working dads. Some experts are even calling the phenomenon the ‘She-Cession.’

“I mean, it’s, really concerning,” Nicole Riehl, the president and CEO of Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC) said. “And you know, I think we’re at risk of undoing decades of progress if we don’t take action and do something to fix it.”

Nationally, women accounted for 54.5 percent of all the jobs lost in 2020, yet women make up just 47 percent of the labor force--staggering statistics that were uncovered in a study done by EPIC and the Common Sense Institute. Colorado is no exception.

“What we found in 2020, over 20,000 Colorado working moms have left the workforce and have not yet returned to work,” Kristin Strohm, the president and CEO of Common Sense Institute explained. “For perspective, that’s about two-and-a-half times of the Broadmoor World Arena.”

According to the two organizations, women are being forced to quit their jobs more often than men.

So why is this happening? According to experts, the phenomenon shows that working moms are taking the brunt of the pandemic.

“Women have had to juggle a lot, and that means perhaps taking a temporary leave from work, working at home while teaching kids online. There are real challenges that this pandemic faces, and it’s no surprise that women are facing the brunt of it,” Strohm said.

This is the least amount of women in the workforce since the 1980s--a hard pill to swallow for equality and also the economy. Before the pandemic hit, experts say we even reached a point where we had more women in the workforce than men nationally.

“We also know that in order to really achieve the economic growth and competitiveness that we want in our business sectors and in our economy that we need to have women working in the workforce and we need to make sure that as many people who want to earn a living and actively work in the workforce can do so,” Riehl said.

So what can be done? Experts say having easier, and cheaper access to childcare through employers, more community options or even new state policies to help alleviate the issue. The two add employers can also give moms more opportunities to work from home. But above all they say it all starts with awareness.

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