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May 4, 2021

The pandemic has cost women around the globe 64 million jobs — 5% of the total jobs held by women — and $800 billion in earnings, according to Oxfam International and as reported by CNBC. Conversely, only 3.9% of men’s jobs were lost in 2020. CNBC also reported data from the National Women’s Law Center, which found that between February 2020 and February 2021, more than 2.3 million women in the U.S. left the workforce compared to 1.8 million men.

“Economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is having a harsher impact on women, who are disproportionately represented in sectors offering low wages, few benefits, and the least secure jobs,” said Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International, in a statement.

Bucher also stated that this number does not reflect millions of women working in the “informal economy” who have had their income and hours reduced during the pandemic, reports CNBC.

Women represent nearly two-thirds, or 64%, of the labor force in the 40 lowest-paying industries while making up just under half of the workforce in the U.S., according to data from the National Women’s Law Center. While these jobs are essential to our society, the median wage for this type of work is $12 per hour.

CNBC cited a Lean In and McKinsey & Company report as noting that one in four women in September said they were thinking of leaving the workforce. This report also found that almost half of employees said they consistently felt stressed at work, and about a third reported feeling tired or burned out. For working parents, particularly mothers, these strains were even more substantial.

President Biden introduced the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, calling for affordable child care and a federal paid leave policy, to help alleviate this stress. If passed, the poorest working families wouldn’t have to pay for child care, and families earning 1.5 times their state median income would pay no more than 7% of their income on child care. The plan also calls for 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or a sick loved one or for personal medical reasons, according to a White House fact sheet.

There has also been reported that while certain paid leave policies have Republican support, Republicans aren’t in support of Biden’s plan to raise taxes. An April Yahoo News/YouGov Survey found that a majority of Democrats and independents are in favor of extending child-care subsidies for one year, while Republicans were split.