Motherly Unemployment Blues

Chart: Recession opened up a gender divide in CA

Two income families have become synonymous with modern parenting. Yet, in the recent COVID-induced economic disruption, when women are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed than men, the family dynamic may also be shifting. 

….by April [2020] the COVID-19 crisis had created a 3 percentage point gender gap in unemployment. 

A similar gap emerged in the share of men and women who were un[der]employed or “underutilized”—working part time when they would prefer to work full time or not looking for work despite being available.

Public Policy Institute of California, December 8, 2020

Furthermore, according to a recent report in the Washington Post

The share of women working or looking for work has fallen to the lowest level since 1988…There are 2.2 million fewer women working or looking for work now than in January…according to the Labor Department data.

Nov 6, 2020

When the traditional school year started, more women stopped working than men, as many still fulfill the role of primary caregivers for children, who need guidance while virtual schooling at home or whose daycare facility has been closed: 

November 6, 2020

Since many mothers are no longer working, families may be less able to afford extracurricular expenses which in the short term may not be noticed as many activities have been cancelled or suspended. Yet, once social distancing restrictions lift and we once again are gathering in public spaces, kids may be compelled to curtail their activities—making for difficult choices and unintended consequences.

Since afterschool activities provide additional childcare, how will parents balance their work schedules and family obligations post-COVID crisis?

Also, if students discontinue extracurricular activities, where else will they have spaces independent from parents, as well as discover aptitudes which may not be addressed in school? Plus, since students can show college admissions officers their commitment, their leadership, their interests with their extracurricular participation, will their higher education opportunities be narrowed

Also, as families cut back on expenses given their new financial constraints, the overall US economy may continue contracting

…as fewer people working results in less household income available to spend.

Washington Post, Nov. 6, 2020

And, finally over the long term

Women who take a year off to care for children have historically had a harder time getting back into the workforce, and they suffer lower earnings and retirement savings throughout their lives compared with workers who don’t.

Washington Post, Nov. 6, 2020

Thus, the overall wealth of a family may likely decrease, which can increase stress for parents trying to maintain their standard of living with cascading negative implications for children already struggling to adjust to the new COVID-19 induced reality.


For more information about how Creative Marbles experts can help students and parents navigate the new normal in education in complex COVID times, contact us at Creative Marbles Consultancy

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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