She-Cession

One of the after-effects of the pandemic is what economists are calling a she-cession. A she-cession is a term used to describe an increase in unemployment rates and or a decrease in labor force participation rates (a participation rate of about 55% the lowest it has been since the 80s) between men and women. The causes can vary, but the ones often cited resulted from the pandemic. 1) Professions women worked in (hospitality, nursing, homecare aides, waitstaff) shutdown. 2) because women often do more of the homecare work when the pandemic disrupted childcare women were forced or priced out of the workforce.

This is the cause of our worker shortage, but more importantly, this is the cause of many issues in our labor markets. People are not able to afford childcare, healthcare, housing, or even their basic needs. The government can address this in a few ways. 1) increase childcare capacity 2) increase high paying jobs 3) train and educate workers for in-demand careers 4) help stabilize the industries women worked in before the pandemic.

The first thing to tackle is childcare. Biden’s Build Back Better Plan adds subsidized child care and free preschool. Increasing the minimum wage (which all Democrats, Sen. Josh Hawley, Sen. Mitt Romney, and Sen. Tom Cotton have publicly supported), even using a workaround as Josh Hawley suggests. Hawley suggests paying a tax credit to subsidize wages to a targeted livable wage. We then need to put more funding into community college and jobs training also in the Build Back Better Plan. Finally, we need to make the industries safe that shut down and that requires us to get a hold of the virus through vaccination. These are the ways we can help women and end the she-cession. More importantly, this will make the economy and society overall healthier. Too many people are struggling and these efforts could be a lifeline. Although they are targeting the issues disproportionately impacting women they are universal programs that help all Americans. We need a government responsive to the needs of Americans, and these are the minimums we should demand.

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