The Work-From-Home Era Left Them Out

By Monica Potts

She tells them she wants to offer them more hours and classes, but that the gym is struggling to hire staff. “And then the response is, ‘Yeah, you know, people just don’t want to work nowadays,’” she said. She suspects they expect her to agree with them, but she doesn’t. “People want to work,” she said. “They just want to get paid fairly for the work.”

For others, coming out of the pandemic will remain difficult because many key services haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels. For example, the availability of child care remains about 12 percent lower than it was before 2020, according to Alycia Hardy, a senior policy analyst with The Center for Law and Social Policy. That reduction in supply can raise the cost of child care, which was already out of reach for many families in lower income brackets. Additionally, child care itself is often a low-paying profession, so many of the providers may be seeking work elsewhere for the reasons described by Ellis. “We’ve seen this devastation on this already fragile system,” Hardy says. “What that really translates into for families is that half a million families are without child care.”

Many of the women I spoke to had changed jobs or were planning to. Others had changed their relationship to work. But many also felt that people in their circumstances needed more support. In the Women & Politics Institute/Barbara Lee Family Foundation report, a strong majority of women likely to vote in the 2022 midterms thought Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act should be expanded.

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