Most women are back to work in New Jersey following the COVID-19 pandemic, but things are not necessarily back to normal.
The pandemic had a big impact on child care access. And now a new report from the Rutgers Center for Women and Work finds that many women are changing how they work because of it.
Women are holding more than 63% of the jobs on the front lines of the pandemic. But they brought home substantially less money than their male counterparts. On average, men earned more than $54,000, while women earned a little more than $40,000. Hispanic women earned even less.
Women also had to make difficult choices when it came to their jobs because of disruptions to child care. The report found that 20% of women cut their work hours, 14% left their jobs and 13% took unpaid leave. This is for women in households earning less than $50,000 per year.
Those in middle or high-income households were more likely to take paid leave or supervise their children while working from home.
The child care disruptions continued even after schools returned to in-person learning. The report found that 23% of families still dealt with disruptions in the last six months of 2021. That percentage is even higher for low-income families and Latinx families.
So what can be done to improve conditions for New Jersey women and their families? Rutgers researchers have several recommendations for the Murphy administration, such as improving child care access and affordability, enacting a state-level child tax credit and enhancing access to preventative health care and mental health services.