The 2020 election resulted in the largest gender gap in America since the passage of the 19th Amendment was ratified 100 years ago. According to NBC News, there are several circumstances that sent women to the polls this year, most notably the child care crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Data shows that women from all backgrounds and races have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, leaving the workforce to care for their children in greater numbers than men.
From NBC News:
Female unemployment this year reached double digits for the first time since 1948 (when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking women’s unemployment). This joblessness crisis hurt women of color the most.
Part of this is due to heavy layoffs in female-dominated industries, such as hospitality and entertainment. But research also show that women are being forced out of the labor market due to child care demands. A study from McKinsey and the advocacy group Lean In found that one in four women in corporate jobs were considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce due child care responsibilities they had to take on in the wake of Covid-19.
The results of FFYF’s national poll reveal the clear impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on voters’ views of America’s child care system — and the need for a significant public investment in meaningful child care policy solutions for working families and providers. In fact, 72% of voters nationally and 76% of voters in key battleground states support such an investment to ensure that every working parent who wants to do so could affordably send their child to the high-quality child care program of their choice. Most notably, however, this new data shows that 84% of American voters say high-quality, affordable child care for families with young children is an essential service — just like healthcare and education — with 79% of saying specifically that the pandemic has made it clear to them how essential a strong child care system is for families who need it.