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If Congress wants to spark economic recovery, it must invest in care

19

Congress should support childcare workers if it wants to help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Tina Tchen. December marked the end of a devastating year for women. Women made up more than half of the 9.4 million net jobs lost in 2020. Between January and December 2020, more than 2.1 million women left the labor force, including 605,000 Black women and 382,000 Latinas.

The last time U.S. women’s labor force participation was as low as it is today, Ronald Reagan was President, the Internet was years away from going public, and a gallon of gas cost 90¢.

This jobs crisis is occurring on top of long-standing inequities—fueled by racism, sexism, and other systemic barriers—that have harmed women, and especially women of color and women in low-paying jobs, for generations.

One of these systemic barriers has become even more apparent during the pandemic: the unprecedented caregiving burdens that disproportionately fall on women.

Caregivers make up the backbone of our economy—whether you are a single woman struggling to recover from an illness, a childcare worker facing long-term unemployment, or a daughter caring for aging parents, at some point in your life, you or someone you know will need care. Yet our workplaces […]

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