Originally published by npr on May 26, 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic has been especially tough on women, who are still bearing the brunt of the demands of child care and housework.
About 400,000 more women than men have left the workforce since the start of the pandemic. The percentage of women in the paid labor force has not recovered from the steep drop in the spring of 2020.
Many had to leave their jobs last year to take care of their children when schools closed.
A new business coalition wants companies to take the lead in creating better options for child care and elder care, as well as push the federal government to create a minimum standard of federally funded family and medical leave. The group also advocates better working conditions for people who work as caregivers.
The Care Economy Business Council was created by the Time’s Up advocacy group, which advocates for gender equality in the workplace.
“The pandemic has really, really just exposed to everyone how critical the need is to have caregiving in this country,” says Tina Tchen, the CEO of Time’s Up.
Google, McDonald’s, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Verizon, PayPal, Uber and Spotify are among the some 200 companies that have already signed on to the council. Tchen says the group asks its members to be committed to caregiving for their workers. The council plans to regularly meet with its members and advocate for the issue in Congress.