DENVER — Though the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic have hit all groups of Colorado workers, a new report argues that it is affecting women far more than it’s affecting men — and could have a lasting effect if officials don’t begin to discuss ways to counter that trend.
In an analysis of unemployment data, the Common Sense Institute found twice the number of women as men — roughly 179,000 female professionals — have dropped out of the state's labor force since February. Add that to a higher unemployment rate for women — 11.74% versus 8.99% for men — in May, and the numbers tell a troubling story about what’s happening to Colorado’s workforce, said Kristin Strohm, president and CEO of the research organization that promotes economic activity.
Though Strohm and her cohorts have heard numerous stories about women leaving jobs to care for and educate children whose schools have been shut down during the pandemic, the reason why the economic toil is so disproportionate remains elusive, she said. What is clear this that business and government leaders need to convene working groups to look more into these trends, talk more to women and discuss what kinds of policies need to be put into place to help women who want to return to work.
“The economy doesn’t open back up without women,” added Kristen Blessman, president and CEO of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, during a July 8 webinar her organization held to review the 2020 legislative session and talk about the economy. “And I think that’s one of the most critical issues we face right now.”
> Above video: Landing a job during the pandemic
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