GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A new study out of Greenwood Village is painting a grim picture. It shows the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Colorado’s working women.
Kristin Strohm, President and CEO of the Common Sense Institute, helped conduct the research. Strohm says in the past three months, progress for women has been threatened.
“We’ve been monitoring the implications of COVID on the job market and found that from February to May, more than 267,000 Coloradans left the labor force. In Colorado, twice the number of women dropped out as men.”
That equates to nearly 179,000 women and 88,000 men respectively, Strohm told CBS4’s Mekialaya White.
“For perspective, that’s about 10% of the total female labor force in our state, which is pretty staggering,” she said.
One of the largest drops in the labor force was seen in women over the age of 35, with this group experiencing a decline of nearly 8% in participation, dropping from 63% to 55.3%. This is more than double the decline in the same age category for men.
The specific cause, however, isn’t clear yet.
“I think there’s more research to be done on the cause. Is it a lack of child care? Is it because schools have been closed?” she said.
As a working mother herself, Strohm understands the daily feat of juggling home and work life.
“I’ve always participated in the workforce. I enjoy working, but I love my kiddos, too, and it’s really been challenging during the pandemic balancing that as a female. This is near and dear to my heart because when I see perhaps a choice to leave the workforce and not be able to do both, it’s troubling to me.”
Strohm encourages people to not be immediately discouraged by the numbers. She’s also issuing a call to action for businesses and government officials.
“Find ways to accommodate women,” said Strohm. “We have made so much progress, especially in Colorado. We have such a vibrant and diverse economy and a lot of women participate in our workforce. We have one of the best economies in the nation and I think for us to recover we have to get women back to work.”