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Women in Northeast Ohio more likely to reduce work hours than men, new report shows

The business women wearing masks
Posted at 5:00 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 16:02:50-04

CLEVELAND — Right now, 4.6 million women are out of work due to the pandemic.

On Wednesday, the economic development group Team NEO released a new report highlighting the pandemic's impact on Northeast Ohio's working women.

The report found local women were twice as likely as men to reduce their total hours in the workforce.

According to the report, women actually left the workforce in Northeast Ohio at four times the rate of men in the last year and industries like health care, social assistance, finance, arts, recreation, and hospitality were hit the hardest.

"They made up somewhere from 75 to 85,000 jobs that we saw lost here in Northeast Ohio in 2020," VP of Strategy and Research Jacob Duritsky said.

Duritsky said the report points to several systematic issues including unequal pay, rigid maternity and paternity policies and hiring biases.

"The pandemic may have put the spotlight on it, but that doesn't mean that in the pandemic things were perfect," Duritsky said.

But family dynamic was the top reason for women leaving or cutting back on work with the need for someone to be at home due to remote schooling, reduction in child care options or other priorities. Team NEO said one of the most concerning things the report found was the obligation to stay home disproportionately fell on women due to wage gaps.

"What you saw is that although in 2019 women made up 45% of total hours worked, so almost half, the pay gap on average was about 23% lower than men in Northeast Ohio. And that cuts across every level of educational attainment. So regardless of if you have a high school diploma or a graduate degree," Duritsky said. "The share of dollars lost by women in the labor force was anywhere from $11,000 to over $20,000."

The report found some companies are making adjustments and offering incentives as they struggle to fill jobs.

"In today's day and age, you're seeing hybrid schedules. You're seeing full-time work from home. Some positions, obviously, are going to require you to be on-site for whatever the duties are. But, yeah, you're going to see work from home depending on who the business is and what the job duties are going to be at that position," workforce specialist Matthew Myers said.

To read the report, click here.