Labor & Employment

Workforce

The Direct Link Between Child Care and Women Workers

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The gender gap in the Great Resignation is widest in states with the most child care disruptions, according to Axios and a report from payroll company Gusto.

What’s happening: “Nationally, 4.1% of women quit their jobs in January compared with 3.4% of men—a 0.7 percentage point difference. But in Maine and Rhode Island—where around 45% of families reported COVID-related child care disruptions in the Census Household Pulse Survey—the gender gap swelled to 1.7 percentage points, Gusto found.”

  • “At the same time, in Missouri and Arizona—where less than 25% of households said child care was disrupted—the gender gap was close to zero.”

Why: Women still disproportionately shoulder responsibilities for child care and are also likelier than men to take on child care duties while working from home, according to Axios.

  • In addition, “as omicron cases fall, schools are reopening. But many child care centers have closed down due to COVID pressures, like staff shortages and lockdowns. And the availability of affordable, high-quality child care remains a growing problem.”

A related, worrisome work trend: Nationwide, parents (particularly mothers) are turning down job opportunities and missing work because of a severe shortage of school bus drivers.

  • The lack of available operators has schools from Indiana to Texas canceling bus routes, leaving parents to scramble for transportation.

The NAM says: “Women are an integral part of the workforce, and while they’ve begun to return, more must be done to attract them,” said Manufacturing Institute President Carolyn Lee. “Unfortunately, finding high-quality child care is still a difficulty for many parents.”

“Manufacturing is an industry that continues to outperform others when it comes to pay and benefits—including child care. We’re seeing members such as Vermeer Corp. and Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Company provide or subsidize quality care. That’s the sort of benefit that’s going to bring parents into manufacturing.”

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