Coronavirus's impact on women in the workforce is more than speculation and chatter. Labor statistics clearly show that women have lost their jobs or left the workforce in alarming numbers.
We know that women typically take on a disproportionate share of childcare, and the burden has only become more lopsided in recent months. Childcare for school-aged children is now a 24-7 responsibility, with most children learning in remote or hybrid learning environments.
We have pulled our two elementary kids out of school to homeschool, our two older are doing virtual full time but the quality is horrible and their extra classes are not being taught, they just have assignments to do that they have to figure out on their own. - Outschool Parent
While families have made progress in recent decades to balance the domestic load, the emergence of school closures due to COVID-19 has truly laid bare the lopsided burden that women carry.
Mothers are struggling to balance increasing demands of childcare and work
In November, we surveyed over 1,000 Outschool parents to determine how we can best support working parents, and the findings are truly stunning.
The survey went out to families that have signed students up for one or more Outschool classes. We expected a mix of fathers and mothers would respond; however, an overwhelming 95% of respondents were female. This leads us to believe that there is a good deal of truth to the fact that women are the ones taking the reins with their children’s education.
The responses were less than encouraging when it comes to the toll this pandemic is taking on women in the workforce.
- Of the 95% of women who responded, over ¾ (76%) said they are responsible for the majority of childcare in their home.
- Over ½ of respondents (56%) said they have been distracted by their child(ren) during work hours.
- Nearly half (49%) have signed their children up for online classes or activities just to get some work done.
- And over ¼ (27%) have had to cut back the number of hours they work during this time.
- Over a ⅓ (34%) would appreciate if employers would offer a specific benefit such as reimbursement for online activities and classes to help alleviate some of the struggles of being a working parent at this time, yet only 2% reported that such benefits were being offered by their employers.
Additionally, over half of respondents (58%) found their children’s overall education to be lacking. We need to do better.
How Outschool can help
Outschool offers a program for employers to help working parents receive reimbursement for classes on the platform. We appreciate these forward-thinking employers who are allocating benefits where they are most needed, especially now as more and more schools across the country are returning to a hybrid model or going back to fully remote learning. The school day often ends at 2:30, or kids have a half day on Wednesdays, but parents still work from 8-5:00. Outschool helps to fill this gap.
Outschool offers much needed social engagement and a creative outlet for learning that is just not available with videos or more passive forms of screen time. For working mothers being asked to do more than ever, the support that Outschool provides is sorely needed.