According to the National Women’s Law Center, women have lost 5.4 million jobs since the pandemic began, with 2.1 million dropping out of the workforce entirely. The percentage of women in the workforce is now as low as it was in 1988. In New York’s new issue, a look behind the statistics, with Angela Garbes on how the pandemic economy is disrupting women’s lives; Hanna Rosin on why women’s advancement was always tenuous; 13 women on their own stories of stepping back or being forced out; alongside Bridget Read on how multi-level marketing companies are seeing opportunity in women’s joblessness and Julie Kim on being driven from the workforce long before the pandemic.
“The stories collected in this series felt all too real–both editors, all but one of the reporters, the photo editors, the photographers, and the illustrators were all women,” says New York features director Genevieve Smith, who spearheaded this project alongside The Cut’s features editor Jen Gann. “We worked after the kids’ bedtimes and between remote school Zooms, and tried to hold in our heads the stories of all these women who have lost or felt like they had no choice but to leave their jobs, while also juggling our own personal life demands. One of the many things this story brought home to me was just how much knowledge, capability and experience workplaces will lose if they can’t better accommodate working mothers during this crisis.” Gann adds that she hopes people read these stories and see themselves, or versions of themselves or someone they know in them. “The most amazing thing, to me, about this package is how women were able to find the words to describe such an exhausting and overwhelming time.”