WABASH VALLEY (WTHI) - Across the country, many women are struggling to get back into the workforce. This ultimately ties back to the pandemic. According to the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), in the past year, more than 2.3 million women left the workforce. On top of this, more than 5 million women lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The NWLC adds that women currently working or looking for work dropped to 57% as of March 2020. This is the lowest rate the nation has seen in over thirty years.
"Unfortunately the pandemic has undone a lot of good progress that we were seeing," Alison Bell, Western Governor University's Indiana Chancellor, said.
There are many reasons as to why there is such a dramatic number of job losses and women leaving the workforce. One of the main reasons is women dominate the service and hospitality industries, an area that was hardest hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another big factor is women often have the expectation to successfully achieve the work and family life balance. Women are still the primary caretakers in the household, leaving many children needing more supervision due to the closings of schools, daycares, and activity centers.
"It is a deeply ingrained set of cultural beliefs that are hard to overcome and hard to change," Bell said. "It makes it harder for women to prioritize work and home and do it all without running themselves ragged. "They do and women continue to do amazing things, but I think that continues to be a barrier."
This past year has been hard on women across the country, but there are also some positive work opportunities that have come from the pandemic. One of the biggest takeaways is work schedules are becoming more flexible with the option of working remotely. This allows more women to work from home making it easier to achieve a work and family life balance.
"People are empowered to take advantage of the opportunities that are being created as the economy begins to open back up," Bell said.
Additionally, many women are now turning to higher education before going back to work. Many local schools are offering flexible schedules and scholarships, further allowing more women to achieve their future career goals.