Prior to the arrival of Covid, American women were poised to outstrip men in the professional labor force, dominating colleges, graduate schools and even medical schools. But the year 2020 – the height of the pre-vaccine pandemic – proved a dismal one for women workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women lost 5.4 million jobs nationwide that year – a million more than men did. They accounted for 100% of the job losses that December alone, 156,000.
These losses, which disproportionately affected women of color, represented professionals who were laid off or quit, unable to combine working and educating children at home, as well as workers in such industries as hospitality and retail.
Yet out of this disaster has come a new — or perhaps continued — entrepreneurial spirit for women that sees them starting and scaling careers in childcare, health care, hospitality and manufacturing, among other sectors.
“There is no area of business that women are not moving into,” says Fran Pastore, founding CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC).