You’ve woken up the kids, helped with breakfast, found lost gloves, fed the dogs, made the coffee, answered three emails and it’s only 7am. Now it’s time to start your paid work day. But the work isn’t done after you clock out for the day. There is dinner to make, housework to be done, sports and activities to shuttle kids to, and maybe take 20 minutes to yourself; and if you are working remotely, maybe you get back on your computer for “just one more hour”.
Two years into the COVID-19 Pandemic, people in the workforce are more burned out than ever. While this burnout applies to parents of both genders, more often than not, mothers feel this more. Years of research has shown that mothers are three times as likely to “work a double shift”—working a full time job and doing a majority of the housework and caregiving.
Prior to 2020, women made incredible strides toward equality, making up more than half of the US labor force, and of that, seventy percent of the global health workforce are women. Those gains have faced setbacks since the pandemic started. In September 2020 alone, 865,000 women left the workforce. Nearly 1 in 3 mothers with small children have considered a less demanding career, or leaving the workforce entirely.
These statistics may make gender inequalities in the workforce worse over the total lifetime of a woman’s career. Data from the US Census shows that leaving the workforce—even temporarily—can reduce potential future earnings. The inequalities that have always existed are “on steroids” during the pandemic according to Claudia Goldin, an economics professor at Harvard University. Most workplaces reward hours worked, putting women at a disadvantage as they put in an average of 15 more hours than men on household tasks.
A supportive workplace is the key to helping women, and all parents, overcome these obstacles. Adjustments in childcare policies, subsidized childcare or programs for school aged children, should be viewed as long-term solutions, not just short-term supports.
In addition, having both men and women take advantage of these programs is crucial. Encouraging men to take a leave of absence not only helps them personally, it takes some of the burden off women.
Rethinking what it means to be flexible will also help support working mothers. Remote-working mothers who have schedule flexibility are much more likely to have a positive outlook toward their careers and their wellbeing in general.
These supports and changes will, hopefully, lead to long term changes that benefit women. A more robust childcare system, more opportunities for flexible work schedules, a deeper appreciation for the demands of managing a household while working a full-time job.
The end of the pandemic will come, and there will be many lasting changes that come with it. We will all be the better for them and it is my hope that we all continue the hard work of equality, in all areas, long after as well.
Amy Frazer, CHFP, CPAR | Account Manager
Amy holds nearly 20 years of revenue cycle experience, ranging from patient identify verification to insurance claim resolution. Her knowledge spans a variety of topics including insurance verification, prior authorizations, claim editing and submissions, and insurance denials.
She is a firm believer in rolling up her sleeves and doing what it takes to create the best outcome for patients and providers. Amy enjoys attending industry events both locally and nationally, and looks forward to continuing to build and strengthen relationships that support growth for providers and Nemadji.