- - Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Coronavirus lockdowns are taking a visceral toll on families and, in particular, working women, with C. Nicole Mason, the chief executive officer of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, dubbing it the first-ever “she-session.”

Overall, women have lost 5.4 million jobs during the recession, nearly 1 million more job losses than men. In December, Black, Hispanic and Asian women accounted for all of women’s job losses that month and 154,000 Black women dropped out of the labor force entirely.

It’s not surprising.

As Democrats bend to teachers’ unions demands, schools have remained shuttered with no urgency to return to five day a week in person learning. Working mothers, still the primary caretakers, found their support systems of early school drop-offs, after-school programs and other childcare deteriorate before their eyes. They had to become their household’s primary chef, teacher, cleaner, nanny — and there was still their daily 9 to 5.

Among working mothers in dual-career couples, 40% say they spend an additional three or more hours a day on childcare and home responsibilities than pre-pandemic, while 27% of fathers said the same, according to a study by McKinsey and Lean In. More than half of mothers say they are responsible for either all or most of the work at home.

The study, taken over the summer, found about one in five working mothers said they are considering dropping out of the workforce, compared with 11% of fathers. An additional 15% of mothers reported they were considering dialing back their careers and among women with young children, nearly a quarter said they may take a leave of absence or quit altogether.

Before the pandemic, women of all races and color were carving out a larger role in the workforce, reaching nearly 50%. There were advances in gender pay equity and attaining leadership positions on par with their male colleagues. Continued pandemic lockdowns and school closures threaten to unravel all of it. Women’s labor force participation rate hit a 33-year low in January, according to a National Women’s Law Center analysis of the latest jobs report.

Democrats are in a precarious position. They’ve long championed gender equity but their draconian coronavirus policies are to the detriment of working mothers and families. Instead of listening to the science, they’re caving to special interest groups.

On average, in red states, three times as many children have access to five day a week in-person learning as in blue states. Nearly four times as many children in blue states are 100 percent remote. The average unemployment rate in blue states is 6.8% compared with 5% in red states, while the average coronavirus death rate remains negligible between the two. School reopening, unfortunately, has become a political issue.

Republicans, if they are wise, will make safely reopening schools their No. 1 rallying cry in upcoming elections. It’s the one policy proposal that unites all the factions in the GOP, but more importantly, it’s the right policy prescription for our nation.

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