The Indicator from Planet Money - Why Women Are Leaving The Workforce

Of the 1.1 million people who left the job market in September, over 860,000 were women. Today we look at why women are dropping out of the workforce and what it will mean for the economy.

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The Gafford knew she wanted to be a dentist from a young age. Yeah, I decided in high school that I was going to be a dentist and then I became a dentist it wasn't an easy pass. The training was really intense College there were four years of dental school and your residency dental school is very grueling. You have classes from 8 to 5 all lectures and then you have all this extra work practicing your hand skills, you know chilling on fake teeth sometimes until like 10:11 at night. It's it's a long day. It's a long year. It's a long four years and it feels like it's never going to end and then all the sudden it does to your dentist and last year when she and her husband had their first child Dentistry fit in perfectly. It has regular hours until Cassie and her husband got into this great routine.

Cassie would feed their daughter breakfast her husband would drop your daughter off at daycare go to work then when she got home she would cook dinner with her husband and she would put the baby to bed. We got into a great routine. I saw my daughter for probably like an hour and a half a day and we just had a great time and then the pandemic it passes dental practice closed as part of the mandated shut down at her daughter's daycare also closed and since Cassies husband was able to work from home Cassie was left in charge of full-time. Childcare. I would say that the difference between going from talking to add also data talking to a 15 month old was the most dramatic change Charter to take care of a little child. Then it is to interact with 20 adults, even if they're upset or in pain and need work done at the dental chair is nothing compared to taking care of a little child.

Remain closed for months but over the summer the economic lockdown relaxed the practice reopened and Cassie's boss. Give her a call. He said can you start back up in 2 weeks and I had to get back to him and realize that no, I cannot get back to you on that positively because I had to take care of my family. This is the indicator from Planet Money. I'm Stacey Vanek Smith and I'm Cardiff Garcia millions of women have dropped out of the workforce has a pandemic began back in February. That means they've left their jobs or they stop looking for work entirely on the show. We look at what this means for women and for the economy. Also, we look at the long-term effects will things go back to where they were when the pandemic comes to an end.

Support for this podcast in the following message come from Google Google has a variety of free tools and resources to help small businesses adapt from trainings to on-demand classes through grow with Google Explore. Google's free tools for small businesses at grow boss asked her to come back to work. It started off a long series of conversations with her husband through a lot of things in the mix. Yeah, first and foremost Cassie's daughter was hospitalized with pneumonia in January. So Cassie and her husband were very worried about the possibility of their baby getting

Back to work. I love my daughter. I really do. I also love working. Also Cassies husband kind of love the idea of being a full-time parent, but then there was the hell Factor their baby was potentially high risk for Contracting.

Yeah, it was just a calm conversation about with me on the one hand wearing about my future as a dentist on the other hand worrying about our daughter being alive next year. And you know, I was worried about my daughter to there's there's a part of you that just kind of wants to forget. Obviously that the pandemic is existing and you just want things to go back to normal and it's just not reality. It was just easier for me to stay continue to stay home. This is the exact situation that millions of women across the US are experiencing right now. That's according to Martha Gimbel and Economist it Schmidt Futures who studies the labor market Martha says a lot of women do choose to stay home with her children. It's what they want to do. But right now a lot of women are leaving their jobs do not want to be there for stew by circumstance. They are making a bunch of impossible calculations about their children's health or education vs. Their own careers. The problem is is that right now,

A lot of women don't really have choices, right? They can't send their kids to school. Someone has to supervise the learning someone has to deal with the cook that someone has to deal with the cleaning and it's falling onto them. And so they can't make choices that they want to make because they're being restricted tamales was more women or experiencing this more than men are in. There are a few reasons for this for one thing cultural president. Martha says that although things have changed tremendously for women in heterosexual couples at least childcare and housework still tend to fall more on women also because women generally get paid less than men do if a couple is making an economic decision it often makes more sense for the woman to stop working as a result. The share of women in the workforce is the lowest it's been in decades women's labor force participation rate.

Is down to where it was about in 1988, which is the year after I was born. So I Martha Campbell have now witnessed since this pandemic began all of the progress that women have made since soon after I was born gone gone and it probably won't come back very quickly, right? Because even when the pandemic ends in offices and schools and daycares in businesses all reopen and even if all the women who left the workforce are suddenly in a position to come back to work if might not be so easy since Martha the problem is is that we have a lot of evidence that when you take time out of the labor force, it can be very difficult to get back in.

And the other aspect of this is you are not then making progress in your career. You are not getting promoted. You are not building out skills and experience that will cause future employers to pay you more money that she absolutely wants to go back to being a dentist but she's worried that she won't she already feels like there would be a big barrier to going back even though she has years of experience and even though her boss explicitly told her that she could go back cuz he has started doing a little teaching what she really enjoys and she says she just really loving spending time with her daughter watching her develop and grow and just hang out with her and she says she's a little bit scared that you won't want to go back to work. Even when she can, you know, I was joking to one of my colleagues about how I felt like a dentist, but it makes me really sad and it makes me question.

My decisions the fact that I does take so much schooling to get to become a dentist. It does take so much effort. And I feel like I'm kind of throwing that all the way it's not low-grade anxiety its high-grade anxiety. I am constantly worried about my career and that you directory of my career.

I know that it's hard for I can imagine it's hard for anyone to enter the workforce after being gone for so long. And I hope that I can overcome those those hurdles. You know, I I really I've always wanted to be a dentist and I was a dentist. I still am a dentist but I'm not practicing in the way that I always thought I would and that's a little demoralizing and yet I know it's the right decision for my family.

This episode of the indicator was produced by Brittany Cronin and Jamilla Huxtable. The indicator is edited by Patty Hirsch and is a production of NPR.

I'm Rodney Carmichael

This episode of louder than a riot did bias against rap lyrics seal. The fate of No Limits Mac fix. This guy shouldn't be incarcerated. And I know that his music got at me cause you're right, but they got the wrong guy listen now to the louder than a riot podcast from NPR music.
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