Women have also dealt with specific concerns during the pandemic as a result of the caregiving and domestic work they are still more likely to take on than men. More women than men have left the workforce completely: 2.7 million women between March and September 2020, compared with 1.7 million men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Women may decide to quit working entirely to care for sick or aging parents, oversee remote schooling for their children, look after small children unable to go to daycare or manage the household. As a result, female participation in the workforce has not been this low since 1988, according to one NPR analysis.
What Women Are Saying About Money in 2020
But even among women who lost jobs, some have taken the chance to pursue paths they might not have otherwise.
Margo Gabriel, 34, was laid off from her job as a finance assistant at MIT in Boston in February 2020. She had worked there for about five years, and her first step upon learning of her layoff was to seek work in other departments at the university—only to find, when the pandemic hit weeks later, that those positions were suddenly much harder to come by.
"When I lost my job, I was so embarrassed," she says. "I had to really come to terms with separating my identity from my job."
Gabriel had planned to travel to Lisbon, Portugal, in December 2020, but after losing her job, she decided to take a leap and move to Lisbon in the fall instead. She now makes a living as a writer and editor for U.S. publications in Lisbon, continuing work she had done on the side while working for MIT.
Across the world, outside Atlantic City, New Jersey, Rachel Kramer Bussel, 45, also made some changes as a result of the pandemic. In 2020, knowing her expenses would be far reduced due to canceled travel plans, Bussel cut her nonessential expenses drastically. As a result, she paid off the remaining $35,000 of a total $80,000 in tax debt she had accrued and was slowly eliminating via a monthly payment plan.
"If there wasn't the pandemic and I had done all my weddings and travel that I was going to throughout the year, I wouldn't have been able to pay it off plus do all those things," Bussel says. "And I know I wouldn't have canceled them just to save money."
There's no single story that illustrates how COVID-19 has affected women in the U.S., and the many consequences of the pandemic will take more time to unravel. But as vaccines become commonplace and travel begins again, there is hope that more women will have the chance to pursue their goals, financial and otherwise, with the pandemic behind them.
The original article was published here.
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