Women leaving the workforce under the pressures of a global crisis could have long-term consequences. The 80-cents-on-the-dollar gender pay gap increases for working mothers, and lost earnings during a limited period compound over time. Annual earnings for women who took one year out of the workforce between 2001 and 2015 were 39% lower than earnings for women who worked straight through those 15 years, according to a 2018 IWPR report.

Mothers who stop working face challenges returning where they left off. “[Leaving the workforce] does stall their careers, and it takes them longer to achieve career success,” Mason says.

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