Time to Head Back to School!

Aug 11, 2021

Time to Head Back to School!


If schools re-open full time and in person, women will (hopefully) come back to work.

Parents of young children are rejoicing for a return to a routine and a much-needed respite. Parents of college freshmen (yours truly!) are fighting back tears almost daily. Teachers are getting lesson plans together and decorating classrooms. These are all the hallmarks of the back-to-school season.

There is one other thing that I hope back-to-school will mean: the return of women to the workforce. Let’s go back to December of 2020. In that month, 227,000 jobs were lost; 86.3% of those jobs belonged to women. From February of 2020 to February of 2021, nearly 2.3 million woman left the workforce altogether. Labor participation rates among women of all races and ethnicities fell to 56%, the lowest it has been since 1988. The picture is even more dramatic for women of color.

What does this have to do with buying new school supplies? Everything, I hope.

If schools re-open full time and in person, women will (hopefully) come back to work. In American families, we know women are more likely to be the primary caregivers to young children. When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, many women were forced to leave the workforce to take care of children who were no longer in school. We also know that female workers make up a large portion of the retail sector (56% of all retail employees are women) as well as the food service industry (71% of all servers are female). These two occupations were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and many women lost jobs.

Based on my non-scientific survey methods of counting the number of “Help Wanted” signs, women have not come back to work. For those of you who like real data, the labor participation rate among women is currently at 56.2%. My theory: women were forced to make sacrifices and change their lifestyle to adapt to a world with smaller incomes and more at-home responsibilities. And until their at-home responsibilities lessen, they are not likely to return to the workforce.

So, while we are celebrating this back-to-school season, let us also encourage women to come back-to-work.


Strategic Development Group, Inc. (SDG) is a professional site location firm that provides solutions to its corporate clients related to their site selection decisions. Leveraging a professional team with decades of experience across the US in locating domestic and foreign projects resulting in billions of dollars in capital investment, SDG is nationally recognized for innovation, competency, integrity and results. For even more insights on corporate site selection and trends in economic development, please check out our INSIGHTS and NEWS pages.


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