Washington, DC — Virginia House Delegate Amanda Batten and New Jersey State Senator Holly Schepisi today penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner discussing the disastrous April jobs report and how the Democrats’ radical agenda is disproportionately keeping women out of the work force. Batten and Schepisi note that the Democrats’ anti-science school closures perpetuated by radical teachers’ unions have hurt of working moms for more than a year. While Democrats continue to implement an ant-women economic agenda, state Republicans continue to work to reopen schools, ease restrictions, and get women back to work. This contrast will be critical in both New Jersey and Virginia this November in districts like Batten’s and Schepisi’s.
Democrats’ extreme liberal policies are driving women from the workforce
Amanda Batten & Holly Schepisi
With an economy that is still reopening, President Joe Biden should be benefiting from a natural return to the workforce. The April jobs report released this month, however, was our worst in 23 years compared to expectations. It even showed unemployment back on the rise for the first time since the height of the pandemic. Despite all his campaign rhetoric about building our economy back better, the president’s reckless spending is crushing job creators who cannot seem to compete with the federal government’s steadfast commitment to paying people not to work.
Digging deeper, the data released earlier in April also highlights how Biden’s policies are disproportionately harming women. Nearly 165,000 women left the workforce in April, and 800,000 more women than men are out of work across the country. A recent McKinsey study showed that one in four women is considering leaving the workforce altogether — a vast shift from their views on working prior to the pandemic.
As Republican legislators in Democratic-led states New Jersey and Virginia, we think the reason for the disparity is obvious. Biden and his state Democratic allies are still refusing to stand up to the teachers unions and open schools five days a week, forcing women to absorb the consequences of having to stay home with their children who are being kept out of their classrooms.
Since the onset of the pandemic and the school closures that came with it, 400,000 more women than men have left the workforce. Another recent report on mothers and the workplace shows that nearly 33% of them have chosen to downshift their careers or leave their jobs completely due to increasing responsibilities, such as tending to their children’s virtual schooling. A Washington Post-ABC News poll further confirmed that women are being hot the hardest by the pandemic, with mothers stating that they had to leave their jobs because of child care responsibilities.
The remedy to this problem isn’t complicated. Research shows states where schools have fully reopened have higher labor force participation rates for prime working-age mothers than states that are keeping schools closed. The only reason mothers in blue states such as New Jersey and Virginia are suffering is because liberal politicians would rather prioritize the teachers unions that fund their campaigns than getting children back in the classroom.
The delay in reopening schools is unfortunate because studies have found that school closures are unwarranted and that in-person learning does not increase the spread of COVID-19. Democrats spent all of 2020 scolding Republicans about following the science, but they no longer want to do so now that the data doesn’t support their extreme liberal agenda.
Our home states are prime examples of this hypocrisy. In Virginia, only 43% of school districts have opened for full-time, in-person learning five days a week, and that same statistic stands at a mere 17% in New Jersey.
For months, we’ve known about the harmful impact school closures are having on children, but April’s jobs report should be a wake-up call for all of us that working mothers are also victims of the Democrats’ “teachers unions first” policies. The longer children stay at home, the more difficult it is to get women back to work, and even the Biden administration has acknowledged that our economy will not be able to recover unless we fix the gender disparities in our workforce.
It’s no secret that there is a large number of suburban women in states like ours have strayed from the Republican Party in recent years, but working mothers are sick and tired of Biden’s anti-women agenda.
The 2021 elections in New Jersey and Virginia allow us an opportunity to reengage this critical group and show them that commonsense conservatives can offer them viable alternatives to the disastrous outcomes that Democratic control is producing for them at the state and federal levels. Republicans up and down the ticket in our states are laser-focused on opening schools, easing overbearing COVID-19 restrictions, and getting women back to work. We’re confident this will be a winning combination come November.