The “Economy Is Booming” but Women Are Experiencing a Shecession
It’s 2022. Let’s do this, people
My wife’s maternity leave is almost over.
Come the end of June, she’s going back to work full-time.
Which means yours truly is about to become a stay-at-home dad.
I’m super excited.
And extremely nervous.
(When baby Concord starts crawling, I might be doomed.)
Michelle and I are doing the math on how to juggle our schedules so I can continue to work the ridiculous hours I love to work, while maximizing the glorious time we both want to spend with our hilarious little boy.
I figure I can get an hour in during his morning nap, an hour over Michelle’s lunch break, two hours over his afternoon nap, five hours between the end of Michelle’s workday and midnight, and all day Saturday. 55 hours, give or take. It’s not ideal, but what choice do peasants really have?
At least we have hyper-flexible jobs that (at least for now) pay the ever-rising bills.
I’m a lucky man. And my wife is a lucky woman.
But sadly, for millions of women, the pandemic has been brutal on their careers, finances, and lives.
And now that the “pandemic is over,” it’s not getting better.
In fact, for many, it’s still getting worse.
The pandemic was brutal for women.
More than 2,500,000 American women dropped out of the workforce, compared to 1,800,000 men.
It was even worse on a global scale: 64,000,000 women lost their jobs in 2020.
In total, they lost nearly a trillion dollars in wages.
Enough to send ten million of their kids to college in America (or graduate 1.3 billion students in France, but whatever...)
Usually, it’s men who get hit harder during recessions, but the pandemic was the wild card here. When schools shuttered, women absorbed most of the childcare. For many moms, lockdowns and school closures meant they had to go on leave or straight-up quit their jobs in order to care for their poor housebound kids.
While the privately-owned Federal Reserve printed trillions of dollars and robbed the value of your savings in order to flood their pet programs with free cash, they did nothing to recruit and unleash a network of millions of in-home au pairs to care for kids so moms could keep their jobs. It would have been a boon for the economy and kept women on a level playing field. Instead, they kicked them while they were down.
But now that the pandemic is tooootally “over,” there’s a new problem: Over 16,000 licensed childcare businesses closed by March 2021, sending childcare prices soaring by nearly 50% since the pandemic started. (But don’t worry — “inflation is only 6.8%.”)
So tons of daycares are closed for good. And considering that American childcare workers (over 95% of whom are women) average a pathetic $12 per hour, recruitment and retention is nearly impossible in this high-priced corporate extraction economy.
Women got pummeled on the way down, and they’re getting brutalized on the way back up.
Preserving and protecting the family
Let me be totally honest: I think every mom should be a stay-at-home mom.
I also think every dad should be a stay-at-home dad.
I’ve worked from home for nearly a decade, and am of the opinion that the healthiest structure for children is to have two stay-at-home parents, several stay-at-home aunts and uncles, four stay-at-home grandparents, various and sundry cousins, the odd great-grandparent or two, and a coterie of neighborhood kids who are all banned from using smartphones until their cerebral cortexes are fully-formed.
Individualism is killing the (original) family unit, and it’s shattering modern women as they battle to keep their heads above water. It takes two people working around-the-clock at high-paid jobs to afford a house or rent in most major cities these days, and it’s getting worse by the second. As for single moms, the stats show they simply don’t stand a chance.
How to fix this
Twenty years from now, we’re going to be missing a whole crop of high-level female leaders who never made it to the top because of this crippling setback.
All that amazing potential, vaporized because of short-sighted greed.
So how do we fix this?
People are suggesting everyone should just step up and only hire women right now.
As if any worthy woman wants to be hired solely for her sex.
As if this will help the female cause as it breeds resentment among unemployed men and incels.
As if it’s even legal to practice this sort of workplace hiring discrimination.
I have a better idea — one that no politician would ever dare implement for fear of incurring the absolute and total wrath of their corporate sponsors:
Design a single-earner society.
The one-worker way
Imagine a global economy where only one person per household needed to work full-time in order to afford to buy a house, car, groceries, heat, electricity, and a college education for their kids.
An insane idea, right?
Everyone should be able to buy a house for max 2–3 times the annual median income of a single-earner family. Heat and power shouldn’t double in price every three or four years. College shouldn’t cost a fortune. That’s how it was for the Boomer generation.
Such a society wouldn’t be terribly hard to achieve — just ban interest, rent-seeking, and corporate profits. Instead of the hyper-elite billionaires getting one penny richer, we make the contributor class richer instead.
Re-designing the economy on the single-earner basis would have marvelous benefits for women.
For traditional/extended families, three or even four generations could put a roof over their heads with just one person working full-time, leaving everyone else to raise great kids, pursue hobbies, volunteer in their neighborhoods, or start small businesses that build and retain real wealth in the local community.
For nuclear families, one spouse could work full-time and the other could stay home, or they could both work part-time, or they could alternate years or decades. Either way, the pressure to find an expensive daycare simply disappears — either one parent can choose to stay home, or suddenly the two-income family has enough margin to pay a day-carer living wages.
For single-parent families the benefits are even more obvious — nine million single moms and their children would no longer live in abject poverty.
Politicians and their corporations say they care about women.
But don’t believe them for one second:
They let women fall hard on the way down.
They’re hurting them on the way back up.
They’ve structured a global economy that abuses not only women and men, but also children who have to be raised by parents stuck in an exhausting rat race for survival.
If they truly cared, they’d do something about it.
But no corporate-sponsored politician would ever take meaningful steps to create an environment in which women and men and children could truly thrive. If half of all workers could afford to drop out of the workforce to pursue parenting and other pleasurable past-times, it would mean half as many employees from whom to extract wealth and half as many consumer dollars to buy their overpriced products.
In other words, building a truly pro-woman economy is deeply anti-corporatocracy.
And that, as we all know, will never ever do.