Pink Recession: 1 in 4 women considering leaving their career amid pandemic, study shows

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A "national emergency." That's what Vice President Kamala Harris is calling the impact this pandemic is having on women in the workforce.

One in four women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce, according to a new report from McKinsey and Company.

They fear we are headed towards what's being called a Pink Recession.

Here's what our viewers told me:

"I want to cry at the thought of giving up my career and identity to save costs on child care," says Melissa Theresa.

"It's really had a negative impact on our family life and marriage," says Ellen van Haute Frasier.

"So, it comes down to choosing your kids or your job, which I'm sure most, if not all, need," says Alice Allmond.

From senior-level executives to Black women who don't feel supported, to working moms, I wanted to put a human face to those numbers.

"You're basically making me choose between feeding my children or taking care of them," says Christina Morio from Northeast Philadelphia.

"It's been it's been incredibly difficult to have two children (in school) under this roof and trying to manage a career," says Libbi Skivo from Media.

"I wasn't performing the way I wanted to perform in my job," says Jessica Jackson from Northeast Philadelphia. "I wasn't being the mother or wife I wanted to be. I thought, 'What's got to give right now?'"

For 25% of women, the answer could be their careers.

"That's an entire graduating class of college and graduate women in the U.S.." says Jess Huang, a partner at McKinsey and Company and one of the authors. "That's a big deal."

Morio works full-time for a major healthcare company and has two kids home in virtual school.

"This is too hard," she told her employer. "My kids are struggling. I'm struggling. What can I do? What can you offer me?"

Her choices? Take unpaid leave, or resign.

"I was spread way too thin," Jackson says.

So she left her long-standing career in property management to help her three kids navigate distance learning.

"I love my career, but there was just no way to do both," says Jackson. "It wasn't possible."

Skivo had to step away from her commercial real estate career.

"In those 18 years, I was really at the top of my game," she says. "I was incredibly proud of the career that I built for myself."

Two kids learning from home and sleepless nights sent her to pivot, and work for herself.

"I tried to make lemonade out of lemons and take the control back," Skivo says. "Find that clarity in the chaos."

McKinsey hopes through these challenges, one in four women will hang on.

"If all the women considering leaving the workforce actually did, corporate America would lose 2 million women," Huang says.

So how do we fix this?

McKinsey says employers told them they're working to be more flexible.

And back to Vice President Harris calling it a national emergency, she says they're also working on a national solution.
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