The numbers are staggering. According to a National Women’s Law Center study, almost 2.2 million women departed the U.S. workforce between February and October of 2020.

Again, the numbers are staggering…

Women are angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Many have had to choose between working or taking care of their children at home. Those who are still working are trying to attempt an impossible balancing act that only sets them up for failure.

If any of this sounds like you, please know that you can get through this — help is available.

Let’s examine how pandemic gender roles affect women and how women and business counseling can help you cope.

Why Women Are Leaving the Workforce

When the pandemic hit, it dramatically impacted the worldwide economy. Millions lost their jobs, and many of those who were still working found themselves suddenly working remotely. There are several reasons why women left the workforce, such as:

  • The service sector was hit particularly hard by the pandemic and is an industry that employs millions of women.
  • If they had a partner who was working full-time, many women chose to stay home and take care of the children.
  • Even those who initially tried to work at home and take care of their kids found it impossible to do both. So, they chose to leave their jobs to focus on childcare.

Many women are continuing to work during this pandemic, and many out of necessity. With few safety nets, they have no choice. However, they are finding the situation feels impossible. Balancing work, taking care of the kids, and staying up with household tasks is too much. For those who are in a relationship with a male partner, COVID-19 is exposing even more stark differences in pandemic gender roles.

Pandemic Gender Roles and the Impact on Women

Even before the pandemic, women were still bearing the burden of child care and household labor in households where there were two incomes. But when COVID-19 struck, it exacerbated these differences.

Women were still taking on the burden of this additional work while also holding down a job. Meanwhile, their male partners worked from home. Many felt that there wasn’t any choice. Their male partners already made more than they did. So, they either continue to shoulder those additional responsibilities or dropped out of the workforce. How does this impact women?

  • If both partners are working, there is still a pay gap of 82 cents made by women than a dollar for men.
  • Women are penalized for stepping away from work to have children. When they want to return to the workforce, they have gaps in their work history, have missed out on opportunities for promotion, and earn less money throughout their careers.
  • Even in households where men and women share household chores and raise children, women still do more of this labor than men.

The Emotional Toll on Women

Perhaps you’ve been trying to do your best during this pandemic, but the emotional strain has taken its toll. You don’t have enough time to get everything done. You feel frustrated that you can’t do more.

And overwhelmed! Everyone seems to need something!

You’ve asked your partner for help, and they are more involved than before — but it’s not enough. Not nearly enough! So what can you possibly do?

Healthy Ways to Express What You’re Feeling

It might be tempting to have a glass of wine in the evening to relieve some of the stress from the day. Or, you just want to hide in the bathroom and scream. However, there is a more productive and healthy way to express what you’re feeling (although a scream session isn’t a bad idea!).

What I’m talking about is counseling to nurture your mental health and wellbeing. You are holding in so much to take care of everyone else. Let your therapist have the opportunity to help you. You can express what you’re experiencing without fear of judgment and with someone who can validate what you’re feeling.

COVID-19 has exposed to everyone how pandemic gender roles are impacting women in our society. These inequalities affect not just individuals but also our economy as a whole.

If you are struggling with finding a job again, getting back into your career, or just someone to listen, therapy can help. Contact me today to learn more about Women and Business Counseling or to schedule a session.