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Women’s History Month – Recognizing Women’s Shrinking Numbers in the Workforce and National Equal Pay Day

Posted by: Karen Booher on March 19th, 2022

Women have been at the top of the headlines in March, with the annual recognition of Women’s History Month. Since 1987, the month of March has been dedicated to celebrating women’s often overlooked contributions to history, culture, and society.

The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women’s History Month. The 2022 theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” This theme is “both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.”

With women at the forefront, it’s also a good month to reflect on some realities that women are facing today relating to the topic of employment and pay.

The Reality of Women’s Shrinking Numbers in the Workforce Since Pre-Pandemic

According to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) of the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, from February 2020 to January 2022, male workers regained all jobs they had lost due to the public health crisis. While women gained 188,000 jobs in January 2022, they are still short by more than 1.8 million jobs lost since February 2020.

“While men have recouped lost jobs, women are still in a big hole, and that shows how the pandemic impacts genders in different ways,” said Emily Martin, Vice President for Education and Workplace Justice at NWLC. “Part of the reason for this is because women still hold the lion’s share of caregiver responsibilities.”

Impact of Child and Family Care

As schools and daycares closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of women left the job market to care for their children. According to research by the management consulting firm McKinsey and Co., women with children were significantly more likely than men with children to leave their jobs in 2020. That year, 1 in 4 women considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their career, versus 1 in 5 men.

Deb Boelkes, award-winning author of Women on Top: What’s Keeping You from Executive Leadership (Business World Rising, 2021), said women are also more likely than men to care for older, disabled, or ill family members.

“In many families, the lowest-wage-earning spouse chose to voluntarily resign to care for their at-home children or other family members,” Boelkes said. “Many women found juggling business responsibilities with homeschooling, child care or elder care simply wasn’t worth the effort or the income to justify staying in the job.”

March 15, 2022 – National Equal Pay Day, 2022

For over 25 years, Equal Pay Day has helped draw attention to gender-based pay disparities. The day represents how far into a new year a woman must work, on average, to earn what a man did in the previous year.

In 2020, the average woman working full-time, year-round earned 83 cents for every dollar paid to their average male counterpart. Pay disparities are even greater for women of color, and disabled women earn 80 cents for every dollar compared to men with disabilities.

The good news is that Equal Pay Day 2022 – March 15th – as proclaimed by Joseph R. Biden Jr., President of the United States of America, is the earliest the occasion has ever been marked. As stated in his Proclamation, Biden says “The earlier that Equal Pay Day arrives, the closer our Nation has come to achieving pay fairness. But while we should celebrate the progress we have made, as I have said in the past, we should not be satisfied until Equal Pay Day is no longer necessary at all”.

During Women’s History Month, 2022, J. Kent Staffing celebrates all women – from homemakers and caregivers, to front-line workers, to CEOs – and their tremendous contributions to society, business, family, and community.


  1. Nearly 2 Million Fewer Women in Labor Force”, by Matt Gonzales, SHRM, Feb. 17, 2022.
  2. Women’s History Month 2022”, history.com editors, updated Feb. 23, 2022 (original: Dec. 30, 2009).
  3. A Proclamation on National Equal Pay Day, 2022”, March 14, 2022, The White House, Briefing Room, Presidential Actions, by Joseph R. Biden Jr.

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