It is hard to read the news right now and not encounter the word she-cession.
Given that it is Women’s History Month, one aspect of the she-cession came into focus while re-watching the movie On the Basis of Sex, a partial biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
It is that woman who is highly skilled at her job—years of experience that cannot be replaced. Maybe it is someone, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg who was top of her class, has a brilliant legal mind, and cannot stand watching her own children flounder as they are not suited for online learning? Perhaps a young pharmacist whose childcare has closed? These are people who have amassed extraordinary amounts of human capital that are currently not being employed.
As sad as all of this is, the larger tragedy will be if workplaces do not establish approaches and programs to transition these workers back into the fold. A recent study done by three economists at the San Francisco Fed estimates that between the onset of Covid in February 2020 and the end of 2020, the employment rate of mothers fell by 7% and their labor participate rate fell by 4%. 1
Despite RBG never landing that big law firm job, she gained attention when she took on a court case involving a section of the tax code regarding the deductibility of caregiving expenses. It seems the issue of trying to balance work to financially support and care for those we love has been flummoxing Americans for a very long time. RBG was notorious for trying to eliminate the barriers that prevented many from contributing both at home and at work.