Gaby Gemetti thought she was failing. After having a second child, she struggled to be a good mother and also a good employee.
"I felt I was not a good mother," she says. "I was waking up in the middle of the night thinking about 'Oh, my presentation' or just working in general."
So, even though Gemetti was rising the ranks of management in a high-tech company in Silicon Valley, she left work four years ago to stay at her home in Santa Clara, California. As difficult as it was, Gemetti's decision was particularly driven by her. The needs of your child, when he began to require regular therapy.
But she missed working on team projects. And the recent headlines that highlight the need for women in technology aroused their interest in seeking a job again. So she went back to work.
In the last three years, women in their first job, such as Gemetti, have been entering the workforce to more than double the rate of men.
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That recent increase comes at a time when the economy is advancing and the unemployment rate has reached record lows, which means there are more opportunities for workers seeking higher wages and better benefits.
Those benefits appeal to working mothers like Gemetti. In March, a "return" began, a new type of program to recruit and re-train women like her who are looking to resume their careers. The new concert, the management of a team at Cisco Systems, gives him time to occasionally pick up his children from school.
Women who return to jobs at higher rates since 2015 dramatically reverse the trend of the previous three years, when women were leaving the labor force at twice the rate of men. It is also an investment of a fall of almost two decades in the percentage of women workers.
During World War II, women began to enter the labor force in large numbers. That trend did not stop for decades. Until the year 2000. Then it began to fall, a decline that continued during the Great Recession and ended in 2015.
Now, many employers are struggling to find workers and are trying to attract them with more family-friendly benefits, such as flexible hours and paid vacations. This is attractive for women, who continue to be the main caretakers of children and elderly parents.
There are other things that contribute to the expansion of the female workforce: the growth of industries such as health and education that depend to a large extent on women, for example.
Women are also making inroads into fields historically dominated by men, such as manufacturing and construction, says Martha Gimbel, director of workplace research. In fact, she is a sponsor of NPR.
"In a tight labor market, employers are willing to see applicants who might have fired in the past," she says.
Another draw for women: employers who compete for workers pay more. But is it enough, given other financial barriers for women who work?
His return to work means that there is a greater demand for child care, which is harder to find. And, unlike Canada and Europe, the United States does not subsidize child care.
"If a woman has a relatively low hourly wage, it may make more sense for her to take care of her own children," says Claudia Goldin, an economics professor at Harvard University who researches women in the workforce, even if that it means to earn less. Later in life when a woman goes back to work.
"Can wage growth help workers who pay for more expensive child care?" Ask Gimbel.
The gains in employment that American women have paled in recent years compared to countries such as Canada and Sweden, where a greater percentage of women work.
"This is a real indication that there is something wrong," says Goldin.
Women in the United States face greater financial difficulties. Much of that is linked to their role as caregivers by default in many families. Free time paid to care for sick children and relatives is still relatively rare. Some cities and states require it, but federal law does not require it.
That makes it harder to keep a job.
There is another disincentive, says Goldin: married women with working spouses pay taxes at a higher rate.
The calculation to work, or not, is personal and practical. But that election has also been judged and criticized for a long time as a topic of cultural wars. In the 1980s, he focused on "latchkey children," children of working parents who opened their own homes after school and took care of themselves.
The #MeToo movement revived workplace debates, including wage inequality and the representation of women in the executive ranks. Many employers are now trying to address that.
They are adding training and mentoring programs to encourage women to return, and they are explicitly recruiting women, says Sonu Ratra. She took a break from her career and founded a staff firm and a support and job placement group called Women Back to Work.
"There has been a cultural change in the last two years," says Ratra. "Women are celebrating more today than ever."
And that change is not only felt by women.
When Gaby Gemetti decided to return to work, both she and her husband changed their schedules.
"We were like," Oh God, babysitting, what are we going to do with the kids? "She says.
Gemetti is lucky. Her mother and a part-time babysitter can pick up children from school almost every day, while Gemetti and her husband alternate with each other. But between her daughter's swimming and dancing classes and her son's baseball practices, it's still a daily logistical challenge.
That juggling has not become easier, he says: "The practice is at 5:30, so you have to leave work at 4:30 to prepare them to fight, and then, what are you going to do with dinner? ? "
It's all part of the calculation Gemetti and other women make when they return to the workforce.