Women have been hit harder by this recession than by previous downturns. Industries that employ a lot of women, such as hospitality and leisure, are faring worse during the pandemic.
Lana D. in California, for example, who requested only her first name be used out of privacy concerns, said she and her husband decided that one of them had to step back from their careers to support their two young children’s primary school education. In the end, it was Lana who put her career in product management on hold to stay home.
Making the decision to leave the workforce isn’t easy. In a household with two earners, partners may decide for the one with the lower income to take a step back.
Single parents don’t have that kind of leeway.
“I really wish they could figure something out to help single moms,” said Jessica R. of North Carolina, a single mother of one who also requested only her first name be used out of privacy concerns.
“I have always been a very hard worker,”Jessica added. “I do not like depending on the government and I’m sure the other moms in my position feel the same way. There has to be something that the government can figure out to help us.”
Jessica is collecting unemployment benefits for the first time in her life and moved in with her mother to make ends meet. Her assistant manager position in retail disappeared in the pandemic. Now that her child’s schooling is done remotely, she doesn’t know how she could to return to work, she told CNN Business.
And it’s not just the salary that disappears after quitting a job — benefits also fall away.
“I do worry that now I am not contributing to a 401(k), and that it will be hard to get back into the workforce,” said Teresa Derdiarian from California, a former proposal coordinator for Associated Right of Way Services, who left the workforce to care for her two young children during the pandemic.
Although she has thought about going back to work, the prospect of paying thousands of dollars in childcare costs every month, as well as possibly exposing herself or her family to Covid-19, is an argument against it, she told CNN.
“I am hopeful that the government will pass another round of extra assistance soon. The virus has not gone away, so I don’t see why they stopped helping out families,” Derdiarian said.