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The women’s employment crisis is far from over—and January’s jobs report proves it

February 7, 2022, 2:11 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The Winter Olympics kick off, Queen Elizabeth celebrates 70 years on the throne, and January’s jobs report shows the women’s employment crisis is far from over. Have a productive Monday.

– Jobs report. For a few months, it seemed like the women’s employment crisis of the pandemic was easing. In October, women gained 57% of the jobs added to the economy. In November, Black women’s unemployment fell to 5%. In December, women’s labor force participation rose—even if that rate was still lower than it had been in decades.

But whether the economic outlook is good or bad news for women always depends on which slice of data you’re looking at. Friday’s January jobs report made that clear once again.

In January 2022, 27 times more men than women joined the labor force, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (which also provided the above analyses for the past few months.) Men have completely recouped pandemic employment losses, while 1.1 million fewer women are participating in the labor force than did in February 2020. Some more numbers: 39,000 women over age 20 joined the workforce last month, compared to 1 million men. The economy gained 467,000 jobs, but just 40% of those went to women.

NWLC director of research Jasmine Tucker blames this disparity not just on the longtime pressures of the pandemic on women and caregivers, but particularly on the effects of the Omicron variant, which closed schools and childcare facilities yet again last month.

Speaking of those closures, the jobs report provided some insight into the country’s childcare providers; the sector gained 5,600 jobs in January, bringing the net number of childcare jobs lost since February 2020 to 131,200.

For parents, it’s likely that none of this is surprising. Caregivers are the ones tracking every single daycare shutdown or day of unexpected remote learning. But for those who aren’t personally affected by year three of COVID caregiving, the jobs report is a good monthly reminder of just how serious these problems continue to be—and who they’re hitting the hardest.

Emma Hinchliffe

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Let the games begin. The Winter Olympics in Beijing are well underway. Some highlights from the first few days of competition: The United States' first medal of the Games was won by Julia Marino in women's slopestyle. Bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor made it out of COVID isolation. Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a Uyghur cross-country skier, was a face of China's opening ceremony, but disappeared from the spotlight in Chinese media after her debut in the Olympic sport. Tennis star Peng Shuai met with Olympic officials in Beijing and told a French newspaper in a tightly-controlled interview that the sexual assault allegation she raised against a Chinese official was an "enormous misunderstanding." 

- On the shortlist. Another possible nominee on President Joe Biden's Supreme Court shortlist is Leondra Kruger of the California Supreme Court. The 45-year-old is known as a consensus builder with slightly more moderate views than some other potential picks. As a lawyer, she has "argued more cases before the U.S. Supreme Court than any Black woman in history, winning the majority." New York Times

- Reforming mining. A report on sexual harassment at the miner Rio Tinto has put global attention on just how bad mining jobs can be for women. The world's miners are used to facing investor pressure when it comes to environmental concerns, but investors are now starting to use their power to call for reform to the industry's culture. Bloomberg

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Agoro Carbon Alliance promoted Anastasia Pavlovic to COO. ACME Capital promoted Aike Ho to partner. 


- To-do list. Janet Yellen will soon mark her first year in office as treasury secretary. She says she still has "a huge amount of important work to do" which means she has "no plans to leave" anytime soon. Bloomberg

- Another allegation. Tesla is facing another allegation of racism and sexism—this time in a lawsuit brought by former manufacturing plant worker Kaylen Barker. She says the environment in the automaker's California factory was "reminiscent of the Jim Crow era." Tesla hasn't commented on the suit. CNN

- Platinum jubilee. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 70 years on the British throne this weekend. She's only the third monarch documented to ever have reigned that long, and the only female monarch among the trio. New York Times


Did Jeff Zucker and Chris Cuomo make #MeToo a weapon in their power struggle? Slate

Sara Ramirez is not Che Diaz New York Times

Research shows gun violence and misogyny are closely linked. It's time to make sure abusers can't buy guns Elle

Women’s workforce participation has plummeted. Here’s how to reverse the trend Fortune


"It’s more than a job. You have to give these kids a chance." 

-Joyce Abbott, the longtime Philadelphia teacher who inspired Quinta Brunson's sitcom Abbott Elementary

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