Women Aren’t “Opting Out” of the Work Force. They’re Being Forced Out

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Crushed by the load of caregiving, women are leaving workplaces in droves, and the wage gap is an important motivator.

“So many women are stranded between multiple rocks and multiple hard places, and are not seeing a clear way out, because there isn’t one,” writes Fox. (Jeremy Hiebert / Flickr)

Long before COVID-19 upended millions of lives, in the early 2000s, the so-called opt-out revolution was in full swing. Mostly the domain of white women who’d chosen to ditch their high-paying careers in order to raise children, a decade later, many of those same women reportedly wanted back in.

As female-identifying people shoulder the brunt of Zoom school, and are mandated to be back in the home because of shutdowns, job losses, child care concerns, or other combinations of coronavirus impacts, the term “opt-out” has resurfaced. Yet, this language aligns women’s…

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