COLORADO SPRINGS — We're all hopeful someday soon we can move past the daily impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our lives, but there are some changes we've experienced that could have a lasting impact. News5 is digging into why a historic number of women are leaving the workforce and what can be done to help them rebound.
We've all felt it, but we know the pandemic has impacted some people more than others. In this case, many women in our communities are having to leave their jobs to make sure their families have the help they need at home.
"My name is Cassie Meier. I am, or was previously a sonographer, or ultrasound tech and I had worked at my job for 7 years when the pandemic hit," Meier told News5. "I have a half-day kindergartner, an all-day first grader, and a pre-schooler."
With school schedules constantly being impacted by the pandemic, Meier had to make a tough decision in-order to be there for her Colorado Springs family.
"It was impossible. So I had to quit my job and stay home with the kiddos," Meier said.
Her decision has become a common one for women across the country.
"I'm thankful I can be here for my kids, but this this was my career that I went to school for. I was in school five and a half years. I did x-ray school and ultrasound school and so it's hard letting go of that," said Meier.
Data released by the United States Department of Labor between August and September shows at least 865,000 women left the workforce compared to 216,000 men. While the decision is difficult for both genders, for women it's happening at a rate four times higher than men.
"The number of women who have left is startling because at the beginning of the year we were celebrating the fact that women were 50% of the workforce. So we have lost significant gains since then," said Institute For Women's Policy Research President & CEO C. Nicole Mason.
Early childhood education experts believe the impact of the pandemic on childcare options and remote schooling responsibilities are fueling this trend. Mason says women need some additional support.
"Employers have a role to play by making sure workplace policies are flexible, providing access to childcare. The federal government has a role to play by instituting a national care infrastructure that will do more to keep women in the workforce by making sure they have childcare and other supports," said Mason.
Meier says she hopes to return to work again at some point. She's keeping her resume, continuing education, certifications, and association memberships current, to make sure she's a top candidate.
"So that way when the option comes for that I am able to go back to work again, I have everything up-to-date and ready," said Meier.
As more and more women consider down-shifting their careers during the pandemic there are experts who can offer advice and resources available to help you rebound.