Why are women bearing the brunt of the downturn?

Nearly half of the American workforce — 49 percent — is female. But as the pandemic-related recession took hold in April 2020, women accounted for 55 percent of the increase in job losses. Why?

A big reason is likely child care — or rather, the lack thereof, says Weinberg College economist Matthias Doepke.

“You have all these schools closed, so you have a much higher requirement for childcare at home. And because women are doing the majority of that already, they are more affected,” Doepke told interviewer Danielle Kurtzleben on NPR’s All Things Considered.

For the 60 million single moms in the American workforce, the lack of childcare can make it impossible to work at all, Doepke added.

“Many of them have no alternative child care, especially now that grandparents are not supposed to come over anymore,” Doepke said. “And so for many of them, it’s simply not going to be possible to work.”

Listen to the interview.