Coronaviruses and economic shutdowns have affected everyone – but it has not affected everyone equally. Women have been the most difficult due to the economic decline from COVID-19, losing about 2.2 million jobs between February and November 2020.

The December 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics report had more bad news for women: all the jobs lost were women’s jobs. Specifically, that December report showed that men gained 16,000 jobs, while women lost 156,000 jobs.

Women-owned businesses, which were growing in recent years, have certainly gone roughly even during the epidemic. In a recent survey, more than half of women Small business owner Fear that they will have to do their business permanently.

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One reason that women are more likely to lose work than men is the nature of jobs women hold: industries such as hospitality, restaurants and entertainment, and retail are all overwhelmingly women.

But of course, there are other contributors.

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The closure of most centers, schools and child care centers means that child care should be done at home. Unexpectedly, the responsibility of this responsibility falls on women, especially mothers. A hospital administrator in Iowa experienced 40% of the business in the past year, with the majority of business being left by the workforce to stay home with children in the absence of child care by women.

The impact of this economic disruption is a problem today, but a possible catastrophe for the future. Surveys indicate that one in four working women are currently considering withdrawing from employment due to COVID-19.

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Women who leave their jobs or withdraw from their careers will have permanent earning potential. They are less likely to climb the economic ladder and work their way up to earning positions as managers or company leaders. In terms of increasing earnings, the progress of women and presence in the board room and the number of business leaders may be reduced.

That is why policy makers should help reduce this damage.

First of all, public schools across the country should immediately start providing safe and responsible in-person instruction. This epidemic has highlighted how much encouragement matters and why parents deserve more control over their children’s education. Public school unions have struggled to place adults in the payment system, while schools remain de-in-person to learn, and children – and their parents – suffer tangible results.

Science and data suggest that we should reopen our schools safely and responsibly. It is time we put our children first, get political encouragement and move the narrow interests of public sector unions out of the way, and do the right thing by getting students safely back into the classroom. This is simply unfair to millions of families who cannot afford private education.

The CDC and countless other data have made it clear that schools should reopen for the betterment of students’ mental health and educational prospects.

In Iowa, Kim Reynolds has led the way in the state legislature to successfully pass a bill that would require safe, in-person learning through the state’s public schools. And in the US Senate, lawmakers are taking a stand to provide additional support to schools that continue with individual learning.

The CDC – as recently as this week – and countless other data, is clear that schools should reopen for the betterment of students’ mental health and educational prospects. But what about the toll on women in the workforce? The need for mothers to be able to resume work is another reason why person-education cannot be delayed any longer.

Secondly, child care centers should also be brought back online and policy leaders across the country should review the rules within their states to make it easier for people to open home-based centers. In a rural state like Iowa, this is important. Some mothers have to drive for an hour or more to find a child care center.

A major solution for licensed child care services in Child Care Desert is providing more resources in the construction, expansion or renovation of child care facilities. In addition, we should ensure that non-profit child care centers can use the same support opportunities as for-profit centers.

Finally, restaurants, retailers and other businesses need to be allowed to safely reopen to the public. Vaccination is a major part of it. Governors and state leaders around the country should continue to work around the clock to provide access to these safe and effective vaccines so that we can regain our lives in parts of the “normal”.

American women have been hearing a lot of things about breaking the glass ceiling and the concept of women empowerment. But now there is more time than talking.

After living with COVID-19 for a year, our country has developed new strategies for virus prevention, treatment and survival. It is time to open up our society and allow women to move forward.

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Carrie Lucas is the chairperson of the Independent Women’s Forum, an independent national women’s organization.