How the Coronavirus Crisis Threatens to Set Back Women’s Careers

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from Wall Street Journal

Lauren Weber and Vanessa Fuhrmans | 30 September 2020

Kate Deisseroth spent two decades building a career as an orthopedic surgeon that now, in the Covid era, looks precarious.

As the single mother of twin 10-year-olds in Lebanon, Pa., the Air Force veteran made pre-pandemic life run like clockwork with an intricate schedule of early school drop-off, after-school programs and babysitters who watched her sons when she was called to the hospital for emergencies.

That support system all fell away when the pandemic struck and her boys’ school went online.

Though her boss and colleagues rallied around her, helping her lobby for permission to consult with patients from home and taking on some of her work, she is looking into nonclinical jobs with predictable hours in case her sons’ school returns to online learning this fall.

Dr. Deisseroth has no illusions about the consequences of such a drastic move: “As a surgeon, you can’t take a year or two off and go back in, so it would kind of be the end of that career.”

Seven months into a pandemic that has turned work and home life upside down, working women are confronting painful choices that threaten to unravel recent advances in gender equity—in pay, the professional ranks and in attaining leadership positions.

Women have already lost a disproportionate number of jobs. That is partly because of a segregated workforce in many fields in which women make up more of the lower-income service and retail jobs that vanished as Covid-19 gripped the economy. While women are 47% of the U.S. labor force, they accounted for 54% of initial coronavirus-related job losses and still make up 49% of them, according to McKinsey & Co.