In early October, the United States Labor Department reported that women were leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men. A few months earlier, a report from McKinsey Global revealed that while women made up 43 percent of the workforce, they had borne 56 percent of COVID-related job losses. This data — and much more — led one news source to call this moment “America’s First Female Recession.”
This week, Colleen Ammerman joined At Liberty to discuss why this is happening, and what we can do about it. Ammerman is the director of Harvard Business School’s Gender Initiative. She is also the co-author of an upcoming book Glass Half Broken: Shattering the Barriers That Still Hold Women Back at Work.
While disparities in pay and access to power in the workplace are not new, Ammerman says the divides are now starker than ever because of COVID-19: “What we’re seeing the pandemic do is really just both reveal and entrench some of these inequalities, both along racial and gender lines.”