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The Setback in the Professional Careers of Mothers Due to the Pandemic

Women's careers have been disproportionately affected partly due to gaps in child care caused by school closings.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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According to CGTN America, mothers handle about 70% of child care at home at regular hours. The burden has skyrocketed amid the pandemic. Is the coronavirus bringing women back to the 50s?

Movies from the 1950s reflect that societies believed that women could only find fulfillment as housewives and mothers. Even the girls who were sent to college often majored in what is called home science.

Scarborough is the co-author of a report titled "COVID-19 and the Gender Gap in Working Hours," which concludes that since the closings in March 2020, mothers with children under 13 have reduced their working hours from four to five times more than parents.

The author says this could have long-term consequences. For families dependent on double income, the loss of a job can have a dramatic impact. The mother's job performance can be affected by household chores, causing consequences such as not being considered for future promotions or increases in her workplace.

The study says that employers must recognize mothers' extraordinary pressure to juggle amid the pandemic and enact more family-friendly policies.

Working mothers are in an incredibly stressful time. For many women, the pandemic has created a new level of anxiety. With the school now online, many families cannot afford a regular babysitter.

Mothers find themselves in an impossible situation where they are doing their own work, their work as a child caregiver, and the work of teaching children.

While many parents are struggling, "women between the ages of 25 and 44 are almost three times more likely than men not to be working due to childcare demands," according to the US Census Bureau in a report titled "Working mothers suffer the brunt of homeschooling while working during COVID-19."

Also read: 4 Self-Care Tips for Busy Moms

Despite the large number of working women who multitask, many mothers face indifference or even hostility from their employers. Companies accustomed to a male-dominated work environment will make no exceptions for these female employees, especially in high-level or executive positions.

Women are experiencing a setback in their progress towards equality at work.

Sylvia Fuller, a sociology professor at the University of British Columbia, suggests that "we need to make sure that as the economy opens up, people have the opportunity to go back to work; that care is available for people who have children."

As the world struggles with COVID-19, some women fear it is pushing them back into traditional roles.

Research shows there are backward development and partnerships. According to DW News, 26% of women have reduced their working hours to organize childcare in the coronavirus crisis, but only 16% of men have.

Our society still promotes gender stereotypes that are no longer appropriate and do not recognize that parents also want and can care for their children.

Women already do the vast majority of childcare and unpaid domestic work. Misty L. Heggeness and Jason M. Fields, authors of the US Census Bureau study, conclude: "As the nation moves through this crisis, research shows that special attention should be paid to education and child care, not only for the sake of children but also for working mothers."