HARRISBURG, Pa. — Millions of women have left the workforce since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Some were forced, others left voluntarily, and it's shown the inequality women still face in the workforce.
"Women have definitely had the largest professional brunt impact from the pandemic," Hope Schmids, director of Workforce Development at Millersville University said. "Too often, work-life balance looks like the woman in the relationship makes the accommodations when needed."
Some reports suggest women lost their jobs or left the workforce during the pandemic at a rate four times higher than their male counterparts.
"They've had to be the ones to just stay home when schools shut down, and become teachers for young children," Schmids said.
Schmids tells FOX43 women leaving the workforce can have impacts for generations to come.
"It's hard to have women's needs and issues addressed at the table when women aren't there," she said. "So, it's really a concern for future leadership. In 10 years, will we see a real lack of women's leadership?"
Schmids says women leaving the workforce can also have long-lasting impacts on their long-term earnings and re-entry. For women currently in the workforce, who may feel pressure to leave, she also says now is the time to advocate for yourself and have a conversation with your employers about your needs.
"Most employers are invested in being flexible if it will retain their employees. It is really expensive to recruit and train new employees," Schmids said. "Some employees have leverage in those conversations."
Finally, she recommends women stay up-to-date on their skills and trends in their industry if they plan to rejoin in the future.