Child Care Expansion, Female Labor Participation Hold Key to Economic Recovery
A recent ReadyNation report release event detailed the connection among the child care crisis, working mothers exiting the labor force, and a post-pandemic economic recovery.
An exclusive, new report released by Council for a Strong America and ReadyNation finds that solving the nation’s child care crisis holds the key to bringing women back into the workforce and repairing the pandemic’s damage to the economy.
The report, “Female Labor Force Participation Is Key to Our Economic Recovery,” draws on June 2021 survey data from more than 400 senior business leaders and highlights that the child care crisis is too big for either the government or the private sector to solve on its own—and too important to a lasting economic recovery to leave unaddressed.
ReadyNation’s national survey found that employers want to expand child care support offered to their employees, but also cited various barriers to doing so. More than three-quarters of employers said that federal or state government incentives would increase the likelihood that their company would expand child care support offered to employees.
“We know that a lack of child care was an important driver of women exiting the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. For our economy to recover and thrive, we need to focus on expanding access to affordable, quality child care for working parents across the country,” said Barry Ford, Council for a Strong America President and CEO. “This report makes it clear that business leaders not only deeply understand that reality, they want to work with the government to find concrete ways of making high-quality child care more readily available so that working mothers can begin to more easily return to the workforce.”
“Employers reported various workforce disruptions due to the pandemic, with about one-third citing child care as the reason. While business leaders have a role to play in helping their employees find care options, businesses alone cannot solve the child care crisis,” said Sandra Bishop, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer, Council for a Strong America. “Policymakers must take concrete steps that will enable businesses to support employees’ child care needs. Significant public investments will increase the supply of quality child care, enable our labor force to thrive, and allow our economy to flourish.”
Unless we find a way to make affordable child care an available benefit for all women, we’re going to constantly keep facing this problem.
Jan Jones Blackhurst, Board Member and former Executive Vice President, Caesars Entertainment; former Mayor, Las Vegas.
Council for a Strong America released the report in conjunction with a high-profile virtual event moderated by Ali Vitali of NBC News. The event featured a trio of business leaders from ReadyNation: Jan Jones Blackhurst, Board Member and former Executive Vice President, Caesars Entertainment; former Mayor, Las Vegas, Antwanye Ford, CEO, Enlightened, Inc.; Vice Chair, US Black Chambers, Inc., and Alexandra Gotts, Principal - Head of Global Total Rewards, HR Operations & Technology, Vanguard.
During the panel, Jan Jones Blackhurst explained that child care is a critical business issue that will need to be addressed in order to recover from the pandemic, stating “unless we find a way to make affordable child care an available benefit for all women, we’re going to constantly keep facing this problem.”
When asked what he thought of child care being thought of as a business issue, Antwanye Ford remarked, “I think the paradigm shifted when the pandemic occurred, because I think you weren’t aware of it. Then, all of a sudden, you realize people couldn’t come to work because their kids weren’t in school.”
Alexandra Gotts acknowledged that solving the child care crisis will require both private and public support, adding “businesses can’t solve this [child care access problem] on their own … This is where we need the government to help out.”
The discussion concluded with the panelists agreeing that child care is crucial for creating a more productive workforce, and that greater public investments are necessary in order to strengthen the child care sector and help employees get back to work.
See below for a full video of the report release event
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