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The American Association of University Women also reports that in the first half of 2020, young mothers lost jobs at three times the rate of young fathers. Women who do remain employed, according to the report, are earning an average of 82 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. The disparity grows when race is factored in; in 2019, Black women made 63 cents for each white male’s dollar.

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While the exact figures of what women are paid compared to men are often debated (in 2015, Christine Emba wrote for Verily that when adjusted to account for hours worked, type of employment, and other factors, the wage gap is tightened to 91 cents to the dollar), still, a gap remains, and, Emba observes, “women are four times less likely than men to ask for higher starting salaries or raises later on, and shy away from rocking the boat with aggressive negotiation.”

What you can do

• Do research on your industry, and if you think you need to ask for a raise, read tips on how to gracefully ask for a raise to ensure you’re earning what you’re worth, and encourage the women in your life to consider the same.

• Research whether there is any legislation in the works in your city, state, or on the federal level that you think could effectively help close the wage gap, and then write to your representatives to ask them to support legislation you believe will help.

Inaccessible childcare

Another obstacle for women seeking equality in the workplace is the challenge of suitable and affordable childcare. American Progress reports that, “in 2016 alone, an estimated 2 million parents made career sacrifices due to problems with childcare; these sacrifices disproportionately affect mothers, who are more likely to take on unpaid childcare responsibilities.

In the first three months of the pandemic alone, mothers of children between ages one and five reduced their hours at 4.5 times the rate that fathers did in order to accommodate their children’s needs.

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