The COVID-19 pandemic has been compared to World War II on a variety of levels. There are important lessons we’ve learned and are implementing from history. Perhaps one has been overlooked, specifically regarding the workforce.
It’s common knowledge that women filled in a labor gap during the war. They had to adjust to working full time and leading the family, unable to abandon one for the other.
Full-time working parents are in a similar struggle during the lockdown with 19 states, as of this writing, closing schools through the remainder of the 2020 school year. Thankfully many of these children are learning online. However, a significant percentage of youngsters, especially those under the age of 10, need oversight and guidance in the lesson plans. This is not to discount our educators’ efforts. Nor is the argument that parents are doing all the work. Rather, juggling both work and education for a child, often multiple children, has become the latest topic of memes.
This heavy burden is less of a joke when the betterment of our nation’s future is considered. Perhaps full time working parents need a leader in this time of uncertainty. Below is a historical comparative analysis between women on the home front during WWII and parents in the classroom during COVID-19. Could parental assistance in distant learning come from an unlike source if history is repeating itself?
|Women on the Home Front During WWII||Parents in the Classroom During COVID-19|
|Women entered the workforce in record numbers during WWII. They knew their service was needed and they showed up to strengthen America per the encouragement of the government.||Parents entered the education field in record numbers during COVID-19. They knew their service was needed and they showed up to strengthen America per the encouragement of the government.|
|Women were expected to stay home with children in the 1940s therefore entering the workforce was a dramatic shift in the nation’s culture.||A parent was expected to work during the 2020s therefore entering the education field was a dramatic shift in the nation’s culture.|
|It wasn’t just the volume of women in the workforce but the male dominated jobs they took due to the gap in the labor force. They worked in factories building ships and airplanes, driving fire engines and trains, becoming air raid wardens and clerical workers.||It wasn’t just the volume of parents homeschooling but the master degree jobs they took due to the gap in the labor force. They worked in reading and writing, history and mathematics, even driving home the lesson of the slope intercept form to graph a linear equation.|
|These were jobs that they weren’t trained for and received less pay than their male counterparts.||These were jobs that they weren’t trained for and received no pay.|
|Their employment was considered a temporary measure for the period of the war.||Parent teaching was considered a temporary measure for the period of the pandemic.|
|To try to address the dual role of women as workers and mothers, the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt urged her husband to approve the first US government childcare facilities under the Community Facilities Act of 1942.||To try to address the dual role of parents as workers and educators, the first lady Melania Trump could urge her husband to approve the first US government … (history will fill in the blank).|