What is the pink recession and why is it coming?
Women in the workplace
It’s no shock to anyone that women have been shortchanged in the workplace for decades now. We’re still struggling for equality on so many levels. From being promoted last, to being passed over for the best assignments, we always end up seemingly on the short end of the stick.
That surely doesn’t mean we haven’t made progress. This problem literally comes two months after Forbes reported Women had started holding more jobs in the US than men. And now, they have accounted for 55% of the increase in job losses.
That means, a portion of our progress may be quickly erased with the new ‘Pink-Collar recession.’ So, what exactly is it?
In a recent article from The Guardian, they define it as the economic downturn from the COVID-19 outbreak, that has ended up affecting more women than men. The opposite of what we typically see in times of economic crises.
Great. It’s exactly what we don’t need when it comes to advancing the cause. It’s been hard enough fighting for equal pay, now this setting us back even further!
Causes of the Pink-Collar Recession
Although there may be some who may be happy that we are going back to more traditional ways, most of us are not. And that’s only a sliver of the problem; because, it’s tradition for women to stay home and take care of the kids.
Now, just because it’s tradition, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Women have more than proved themselves when it comes to being successful.
Just look at amazing women politicians like Angela Merkle and Jacinda Arden. Not to mention all the women who have their own businesses and made it to the C-Suite of Fortune 500 companies. We’ve overcome the odds to be some of the most powerful women in the world!
Unfortunately, not all women can work full time, and therein lies another problem. Women started out with a disadvantage from the beginning. Women are over-represented in low-wage roles.
Add to that the majority of industries women have chosen to work in have been the ones the hardest hit by the downturn. Retail, food services and accommodations (hospitality) are at the top of that list.
Even in certain industries like transportation (i.e. airlines), women with the least amount of seniority, are most likely to lose their jobs.
And even for those of us who are able to work remotely from home, research suggests (by the IFC and UCL Institute of education) that:
“Among those doing paid work at home, mothers are more likely than fathers to be spending their work hours simultaneously trying to care for children…that in lockdown, mothers in two-parent households are only doing, on average, a third of the uninterrupted paid-work hours of fathers.”
I personally can validate these statistics. And I can say that it isn’t something I’m particularly happy about.
Women Making it Through and Past the COVID-19 World
We’ve endured much tougher things as women than a virus, so I’m certain we will make it through these times. Some women like myself, have been able to keep their jobs and effectively multi-task taking care of their children at the same time.
But for some, that may simply not be true or as lucky. Therefore, the question then remains, what are the women who have been directly affected to do?
Well for one, the women who have managed to maintain their positions and family, must look out for those who were less fortunate. Being aware of the current impact to the work environment, just simply isn’t enough.
Second, we must push harder for gender equality in the workplace. Equal pay, pregnancy leave, and flexible work-schedules (remote too) are at the top of my list. But even succeeding with these things, won’t get us to equality.
Go out of your way to become a role-model or mentor to other women who have been held back in their careers. And if you are managing women employees, make sure that they know you value work and are rewarded to reflect this.
We always knew the path to gender equality wouldn’t be a straight one, but I’m sure few of us planned for this set-back. That’s why it’s so important for us to try and keep what advancements we had made. And then push harder, for more in the future.
Without this, we may be leaving ourselves open to a much dire situation. And I personally can’t think of anything worse than our society being sent back to the 1950’s. We deserve equality, so let’s not let each other down and support the fight!