Jerome Powell, like all Federal Reserve chairs, will contort himself to avoid weighing in on policy proposals. But on Wednesday, the head of the U.S. central banking system told the House Financial Services Committee that affordable child-care is an area “worth looking at” if Congress wants to address the economic impact the pandemic has disproportionately levied on women (watch above).
In response to a question from Representative Cindy Axne, a Democrat from Iowa, Powell explained:
“Our peers, our competitors, advanced economy democracies, have a more built-up function for child care, and they wind up having substantially higher labor force participation for women. We used to lead the world in female labor force participation, a quarter-century ago, and we no longer do. It may just be that those policies have put us behind.”
During a virtual meeting last week, @VP @KamalaHarris referred to the she-cession, in which 2.5 million women have been forced out of the workforce, as a “national emergency.” Now is the time for our government to act and provide #PaidLeaveForAll. https://t.co/dLtUUJuxY5
— Paid Leave for All (@PaidLeaveforAll) February 22, 2021
According to the Center for American Progress, women have lost a net of 5.4 million jobs during the pandemic —nearly 1 million more job losses than men. In a report published on February 1st, the left-leaning think tank writes:
“This push of job losses, combined with the pull of increased caregiving at home, has created a recession in which more women have been affected, leading Dr. C. Nicole Mason to dub it the first ever “she-cession.”