This house is not a home, not anymore. With so many schools and workplaces closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many family homes are now an office, a school and a day care center.
“This is an untenable situation that families are somehow managing to make work,” said Washington University sociology professor Caitlyn Collins. “And when I say ‘families,’ what I really mean is ‘mothers.'”
Six months into this pandemic, we have data showing mothers with young children are taking on a disproportionate amount of the extra work at home and working fewer hours at their jobs as a consequence. For those women’s careers, Collins said, it can mean death by a thousand cuts.
On today’s show, we’ll talk with Collins about women dropping out of the workforce, the ripple effects that could have years down the line and what we (and ahem, our workplaces) can do about it.
Later, we’ll hear how a few of our listeners are coping with exactly this problem, and Bill Gates (!) answers the Make Me Smart Question.
When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week: Dolly Parton, earthquake swarms and decorative gourds. Plus, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.
Here’s some additional reading and everything else we talked about today:
- Collins’ research into women’s work hours
- “What Are Parents Supposed to Do With Their Kids?” from The Atlantic
- More research into the disproportionate distribution of work during the coronavirus pandemic
- “How the Child Care Crisis Will Distort the Economy for a Generation” from Politico
- Some BLS data on the time Americans are taking off for childcare.
- Even more pre-pandemic research on the demands on womens’ time at work (this one’s a PDF, just a heads up)
- “How top US companies like Bank of America and Salesforce are preventing parents from exiting the workforce by providing thousands of dollars in childcare benefits” from Business Insider
- “Home Buyer Opendoor Is Going Public in $4.8 Billion Merger” from Forbes
- “Ice shelves propping up two major Antarctic glaciers are breaking up and it could have major consequences for sea level rise” from CNN
- Finally, here’s Molly’s interview with Bill Gates!
Clarification (Sept. 16, 2020): A previous version of this post mischaracterized the findings on the gender gap in work hours.
None of us is as smart as all of us.
No matter how bananapants your day is, “Make Me Smart” is here to help you through it all— 5 days a week.
It’s never just a one-way conversation. Your questions, reactions, and donations are a vital part of the show. And we’re grateful for every single one.