A growing number of families need two earners to stay in the middle class, according to Ismat Mangla, senior content manager for MagnifyMoney, a website produced by LendingTree. Meanwhile, according to Mangla, housing and childcare costs are only rising, while wages have remained relatively stable.
Due to the pandemic and rising childcare costs, there is an increasing need for a parent (often the mother) to stay home rather than work.
This is yet another way the pandemic appears to be creating non-health challenges for women more than men; and one for which a solution is not readily available. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women’s participation in the workforce is at its lowest level since the 1980s. Part of the reason is that this problem existed before COVID-19.
“The pandemic has in many ways been a tipping point for Ohio families, especially among working parents with children under 5,” Public Opinion Strategies said in a briefing note, according to Columbus Business First. “In an environment where labor shortages are pervasive in the state/country, childcare has become an economic issue.”
But, “The child care system we had was already broken,” Lisa Courtice, CEO of United Way of Central Ohio, told Columbus Business First. “Now he’s taken so many beatings and it’s unstable. It’s a manpower issue.”
It is dishonest to pretend that there is no socio-cultural component to this problem. But it is the responsibility of policy makers and elected officials to rise above this sort of thing. Finding a solution to the lack of affordable and accessible child care in Ohio should be high on the priority list.