Jobs are Recovering in the US. But Not for Women
Experts suggest that the post-covid gender divide could lead to longstanding structural differences.
“America’s job machine is going stronger than ever,” said President Joe Biden in a speech at the White House last week. “America is back to work.” This optimistic view came in response to a report which showed that the United States added 467,000 jobs in January despite the spread of Omicron and a surge in Covid-19 infections.
Yet experts point to a gender divide in the economic recovery. According to a National Women’s Law Center analysis, 1.1 million women who left the labor force since the beginning of the pandemic have yet to return, while male workers have regained all the jobs they have lost.
Experts suggest that it may be harder for women to return to work as they often took on the burden of childcare during the pandemic. Persistent gender disparities are “cause for concern,” said Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice at NWLC. They have “really demonstrated the need to address our caregiving infrastructure, which has been a huge drag on women’s recovery.”
Professor of sociology and gender and sexuality studies Gayle Kaufman told Washington Post that these figures show a wider issue in the US economy: “I still don’t think the labor market is built for anyone who wants to have a life outside of work,” Kaufman said. The world of work is still based on an outdated model where women shouldered the burden of domestic life, and men focused entirely on work.
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