Not Safe For Mom Group in Bloomberg Businessweek
June 03, 2020
“The pandemic amplified an already untenable situation, where women are burning the candle at both ends as they drown in work and hack together child care,” says Alexis Barad-Cutler, who runs an online women’s community called Not Safe For Mom Group and has two sons, age 6 and 8.
“Working moms are already earning less to the dollar than our male counterparts and now, because we’re not the higher wage earners, our careers are put to the side again,” says Barad-Cutler, who took charge of home schooling because her husband, an attorney in New York, is the primary breadwinner. She now takes care of her kids during the day and works from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. most nights.
Many women don’t have an option to scale back. There are 15 million women in the U.S. whose paychecks amount to at least 40% of their household income, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. That means half of all mothers in America with children under age 18—and four out of five black mothers—are breadwinners.
Kai White, a single mom in Long Beach, Calif., says school closures and the inflexibility of her job has left her in a suffocating spot: “Either neglect my kids and their schoolwork, or risk being fired.”
White, 31, is a job recruiter at a staffing company with 200,000 employees. Considered an essential business, the company hasn’t halted in-person recruiting events. White says she’s on a salary, but she is evaluated, in part, on how many people she hires. After using her paid time off, she says she has had no other choice but to ask for an unpaid leave of absence. Since her employer allows only 30 days of personal leave, she had to return to her job on June 1.
“I’m panicking,” White says. “I need money for rent and food, but I also can’t risk contracting the disease or leaving two toddlers at home with my 12-year-old.”
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