Time’s Up, Measure Up
Women’s Work: Key Policies and Paradigms for An Inclusive Post-Pandemic Economy
By Julie Kohler (BMK Consulting), Stephanie Odiase (TIME’S UP), and Jessica Forden (TIME’S UP)
In less than a year, the U.S. erased more than 30 years of women’s employment gains, and as a result, our economy has been left vulnerable.
In our new report, “Women’s Work: Key Policies and Paradigms for an Inclusive Post-Pandemic Economy,” we address why the current women’s labor force participation crisis must be central to economic recovery and to efforts to build a robust and inclusive economy.
Our new analysis also finds that President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan caregiving investment proposals would create at least 1.6 million new jobs for women and enable at least 3 million women to join the labor force.
Increasing women’s labor force participation is vital. Barriers to women’s labor force participation, including the lack of caregiving policies, don’t just hold women back – they hold back our entire economic system. We need to recognize the essential roles that women’s paid work and caregiving play in building a strong and robust economy and invest in policies that enable and support women’s wellbeing.
- The caregiving investments proposed by the Biden-Harris administration would create at least 1.6 million new jobs for women and enable at least 3 million women currently constrained by caregiving responsibilities to join the labor force.
- The addition of 3 million women would increase women’s labor force participation by approximately 2.2 percentage points, erasing a generation of pre-COVID-19 labor market declines.
- Coupled with the ongoing labor market recovery from COVID-19, these transformative investments are poised to take women’s labor force participation in the U.S. close to an all-time high.
- Women’s labor force participation plays an essential role in women’s economic well-being, a robust economic recovery, economic growth, and a stronger economic system in general;
- Care infrastructure plays a critical role in supporting and enabling women’s labor force participation and is, consequently, a foundational policy priority; and
- The long-dominant economic philosophy that, for decades, blocked investment in care infrastructure is showing signs of cracking. And yet, a pernicious set of “traditional” cultural norms about gender, race, class, and family remain strongly intact. Combating them is essential for advancing women’s economic progress, economic growth, and racial and gender equity.
- Building an inclusive economy requires both significant paradigmatic shifts and policy changes — combating “traditional” cultural norms about gender, race, class, and family is essential for advancing racial and gender equity, women’s economic progress, and economic growth.
Addressing the current women’s labor force participation crisis must be central to economic recovery and to efforts to build a less fragile, more inclusive economy.
This paper is a product of Time’s Up, Measure Up.