Women Have Lost 700,000 More Jobs Than Men Since the Pandemic Started

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Once again, gender inequality in the labor force rears its ugly head.

The coronavirus pandemic has turned the U.S. economy and workforce upside down. Over the past nine months, millions of Americans have lost their jobs or seen their income drop substantially. But according to a CNN report based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women have taken a harder hit than men.

As of November 2020, women held 5.3 million fewer jobs than they did when the pandemic started in February. Men, by contrast, only had a 4.6 million job shortfall. All told, women are down a good 700,000 positions compared to men. And that's a hit they might struggle to recover from.

Why women have lost more work than men have

Certain industries took a particularly strong beating in the pandemic -- notably, restaurants, hotels, and retailers. Women tend to make up the majority of employees in these industries. By virtue of that alone, it's easy to see why women have lost more jobs than men have.

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But let's not forget that childcare -- or a glaring lack thereof -- has been a nightmare. And that has also disproportionately affected women. Historically, women have been more likely to give up their jobs to address childcare needs. Women are also known to earn less money than men thanks to the ever-present gender pay gap. As such, it stands to reason that women would be more likely to give up a job in the absence of childcare.

How women can recover

If you've lost your job in the course of the pandemic or had to leave the workforce temporarily to care for a child, do your best to maintain your job skills and knowledge base. That means keeping up with industry updates and staying in touch with former colleagues and contacts.

It's also a good idea to secure some type of part-time work to avoid a dreaded resume gap. If you're a marketing professional, for example, reach out to local businesses to see if you can do some consulting work. And if you can't do that work on a paid basis, volunteer -- it'll still be something you can put on your resume.

Financially speaking, you may have a hard time getting by. If you have an emergency fund, now's the time to tap that savings account -- it's better than racking up debt. If you have equity in your home, you can also look into borrowing against it to generate extra cash. And of course, you shouldn't hesitate to ask for relief if your income is down. You might be able to lower your monthly credit card payments or get more time to cover your utilities.

Hopefully, the current economic crisis will start to resolve as coronavirus vaccines are rolled out to the general public. Restrictions will ease, schools will reopen, and businesses will begin to rehire workers. Until then, it's imperative that women do whatever they can to make themselves viable job candidates and avoid getting buried in debt. Men are also struggling during the pandemic, but women seem to be bearing the brunt of it. There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. However, female members of the labor force will have to work extra hard to emerge unscathed.

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