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Report: Mothering While Working Makes Life Significantly Harder

The pandemic put a microscope on the emotional and physical cost that caretakers pay when juggling a job with familial responsibilities.

Achieving balance as a working mother isn’t easy. And according to new data, it’s even more difficult than we could’ve imagined.

19th News and SurveyMonkey recently released results from a survey they conducted exploring Americans’ work/life balance. It was revealed that 64% of US workers say they have an “easy time” prioritizing work in tandem with their home lives, across race, gender and income groups.

What differentiates them from those that feel another way is whether they are responsible for caring for someone else in addition to maintaining a full-time job. This, as we know, is most applicable to mothers.

The pandemic put a microscope on the emotional and physical cost that caretakers pay when juggling a job along with their familial responsibilities.

Federal data showed that February 2020 to January 2022, male workers regained all jobs they had lost due to the pandemic, according to the National Women’s Law Center 2022 report. On the contrary, 1.1 million women exited the labor force during that same period, making up 63% of jobs lost.

This can largely be blamed on the responsibility of childcare.

“While men have recouped lost jobs, women are still in a big hole, and that shows how the pandemic impacts genders in different ways,” said Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice at NWLC as reported by SHRM. “Part of the reason for this is because women still hold the lion’s share of caregiver responsibilities.”

McKinsey released a 2021 report that highlighted about 1 in 4 women considered leaving the workforce during the height of the pandemic or downshifting their career, versus 1 in 5 men.

“Two years into the pandemic, that instability continues as kids are out of school or care for weeks at a time due to quarantine,” Martin told SHRM in a February 2022 interview. “Women are still the ones that are likely to step in to fill the gap.”

This was especially true among Black women. In January 2022, 3.6 percent of all women were jobless, but nearly 6 percent of Black women were unemployed, the NWLC report showed.

Black Women Equal Pay Day (Sept 21) highlighted this inequity and how it played into the vast gender-race wealth gap between the group and white men. On average, Black women make 58 cents for every dollar white non-hispanic male workers earn.