Since the world paused in 2020, 1.1 million women left the labor force and have yet to return. The gig economy has grown exponentially since the pandemic began, and the traditional 5-day work week feels like it’s becoming a thing of the past.
The pandemic hurt just about everyone, but studies show women were disproportionately affected. This could’ve been due to overrepresentation in the hardest-hit sectors – retail, hospitality, and food service – or because women were more likely to leave their jobs to take care of their children when public schools closed, and childcare was difficult to find. Many women found themselves joining the world of gig work to get by.
Women are initially attracted to independent contract work because it offers flexibility not found in traditional employment, but there are longer-term benefits as well. A recent study by Indeed confirmed women favor flexibility over stability. In the same poll, 54% said their overall income increased when they switched to gig work. It’s no wonder the study recorded that 50% of women who shifted to contract work reported enhanced mental health. Given these benefits, the 46% of the women that make up the independent contracting workforce, according to the American Action Forum study, is expected to continue growing.
As we close out Women’s History Month, it’s interesting to consider that we are living through unprecedented times. Women are doing their best to work and manage financially while maintaining a balanced home life, and it seems the world of independent contracting is the perfect place for them to do just that.