The coronavirus pandemic has precipitated negative impacts on nearly every sector of society. The death rate is still soaring, and the economy continues to be negatively affected. One industry that has been particularly battered is the childcare industry. Childcare centers were initially forced to close, leaving working parents—especially essential workers—in an extremely difficult situation.
The issue of childcare has long been a relevant one, especially its rising cost. Since the early 1990s, the cost of childcare has grown twice as fast as the rate of inflation. According to the National Women’s Law Center, the average cost for an infant for one year in a childcare facility is approximately $11,000 per year. The incidence of the coronavirus pandemic has only compounded this problem as parents have lost their jobs or experienced a decrease in their pay.
In a statement from Catherine White, director of Child Care and Early Learning at the National Women’s Law Center, “you have families who have lost their jobs or lost their income, and they’re thinking about going back to work without money to pay for childcare. And then on the other side you have childcare providers that are facing rising costs, they’re serving fewer kids and having less revenue coming in. So, they have to charge more, and parents can’t pay, and providers can’t charge less.”
A study from the National Women’s Law center found that it would take approximately $10 billion per month to sustain the childcare industry amidst the coronavirus pandemic. This appears like a huge chunk of money—which it is—but it is important to remember that the airline industry received $58 billion.
The issue with childcare is also largely felt by women. There is a societal norm that places child rearing responsibilities on the mother. As such, her ability to work and be employed is largely dependent on her ability to find affordable childcare. A man’s propensity to work is not influenced by their access to childcare in most situations, thus this issue is particularly relevant to women.
The pandemic has upended so many aspects of our society, forcing adaptation and innovation. However, the childcare industry is in a precarious situation, adaptation is incredibly difficult. Parents—especially mothers—are being met with incredibly difficult decisions. As of now, experts contend that the best measure to implement in order to aid parents and daycares is government assistance.
Leave a Comment