Pandemic forces more US women back into the home

As the pandemic rages in the United States, Aracelis Bonet has had to make a choice between her job and caring for her autistic son.

The Orlando, Florida, woman decided to largely put on hold her job as a real estate agent to make sure her 14-year-old son had the constant care he needs. She now works at most 15 hours a week, resulting in a big drop in income.

“If I was a single mother, with my son, I probably would be homeless right now,” said the 50-year-old Bonet.

“It’s so stressful to be a parent at home, being their teacher, their therapist, etc., being the wife, being the mom, having to have to cook dinner, clean the house. I’ve forgotten to take care of myself.”

Bonet’s situation highlights the dilemma facing millions of women in the United States who must manage households with schools closed or limited due to the months-long coronavirus pandemic.

Many women are acutely following the political debate over reopening schools and health insurance.

The crisis has set back decades of progress by women in terms of labor force participation.

A September report by the consulting firm McKinsey found pointed to a stark choice facing many: “Over one in four women are contemplating what many would have considered unthinkable just six months ago: downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely.” (AFP | Delphine TOUITOU / with Gianrigo MARLETTA in Orlando)