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Women in the Workplace: One Year After the Pandemic Lockdown

Posted by: Karen Booher on March 25th, 2021

The global theme for International Women’s Day – March 8, 2021 – was “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World”. As a women-owned business, J. Kent Staffing understands the havoc this past year has had on working women.

This March, we would like to acknowledge and continue to shed light on the challenges that working women have faced in the past year. Whether losing their jobs, leaving the workforce to care for children, or to monitor remote learning, women have been hit hard by the economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus.

In February 2021, the labor participation rate for women was 55.8%, its lowest level since 1987.

From February to May in 2020, as the nation locked down to contain the new virus, 11.5 million women vs. 9 million men lost their jobs, according to a report from the Pew Research Center. As a marked comparison, during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, 5.5 million men became unemployed compared with 2.5 million women.

Because this downturn was brought about by a health condition versus a financial one, it affected more jobs in industries where women have historically outnumbered men. Three such sectors – leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and retail trade – accounted for 59% of the total loss of nonfarm jobs from February to May 2020, a Pew Research Center report found. Just these 3 sectors accounted for 47% of jobs held by women in February 2020 as compared with 28% of jobs held by men.

The Good News – Jobs Are Increasing

The March 5th jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that employers added 379,000 jobs in February, with most of the gains coming in the leisure and hospitality sectors – where women outnumber men. This figure was well above the expected gain of around 200,000 jobs and well above January’s increase of just 49,000.

We believe that all companies recognize the value of women in the workplace, and in leadership roles. Since the pandemic started, companies have successfully added new layers of flexibility which help all employees balance the demands of work and personal responsibilities without sacrificing productivity.

As we continue to climb our way out of this pandemic, we are optimistic about what the next 12 months have in store for women in the workplace, and for businesses in general.


  1. ASA Staffing Today, 3/9/2021. “In One Year, Coronavirus Pandemic Has Wreaked Havoc on Working Women”. U.S. News & World Report (03/08/3031, by Tim Smart, Contributing Editor.

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