Women have shouldered more child care and housework responsibilities than men since long before the coronavirus era. But with schools, day care centers and camps closed, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated that disparity. Even with men pitching in more, women are scrambling to balance their work with household obligations.
Some of the women they interviewed are balancing child care and jobs by working late-night or early morning shifts. Others have reduced their working hours or have quit their paid work altogether. One woman interviewed left the highest-paying role she had ever had: “I admitted to myself that I couldn’t do it all.”
Not surprisingly, the pressure is heaviest for single mothers who are the sole income providers for their families. Those who have lost their jobs have had the cumbersome task of seeking unemployment benefits and applying for new work while simultaneously helping their children with remote learning.
I asked Ms. Cohen and Ms. Hsu to share what they had learned in the course of their reporting. While some of the economists they cited had grim predictions, the reporters also shared some of the possibilities they see for reforms promoting work-life balance and workplace parity in the long term.