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The pandemic forced many women to leave their jobs. Hybrid work is bringing them back.

Allie Kelly   

The pandemic forced many women to leave their jobs. Hybrid work is bringing them back.
  • Women are rapidly rejoining the labor force, boosting the economy.
  • A rise in remote and hybrid jobs has allowed many women to seek higher-income roles.

Women are rapidly rejoining the labor force — and it's a great sign for the economy.

Many women were forced to leave their jobs during the pandemic, thanks to poor market conditions and a rising need for childcare and older adult care.

Recent data from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, however, suggests that women are having a major comeback in the workforce. In the US, around 70% of working-age women participated in the labor force in 2020. That number had jumped to 73% at the end of 2023.

In fact, the number of women in the workforce has surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

The impact of more women in the workforce trickles down into future professional development for women. For example, women in corporate leadership are likely to hire other women, contribute to positive workplace policies, and invest in future generations.

An increase in remote and hybrid roles are largely responsible for this workforce growth, a report from Moody's Analytics published in February found. Additionally, a survey from Pew Research Center published in March 2023 found that 41% of people with jobs that can be done remotely work on a hybrid schedule.

Women, especially millennials with families, are facing financial pressures from the high cost of childcare and housing. Remote jobs also offer more flexibility.

The amount of women in entry-level, manager, vice president, and C-suite roles all increased between 2015 and 2023, per Moody's, with the number of women in C-suite roles growing by 11%.

More women are also turning to freelance and gig work to maximize their income and lifestyle.

The are still fewer women in the labor force than men — 67.9% of men over 25 were employed in 2022, compared to just 55.4% of women — but increased hybrid options are closing the divide. Moody's research identified inflation and high childcare costs as factors that could risk women's recent labor force success.

Still, Moody's research shows that the narrowing of labor force gender gaps since 2019 has added $1.5 trillion to global income. Australia, India, Japan, and the European Union have been leading this growth.

"A silver lining of the havoc wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic may be a permanent shift in attitudes towards working that paves the way for more women to actively engage with the labor market," the report said.

Are you a woman who has shifted their career, or found success with remote and gig work? Would you be willing to share your experience? Reach out to this reporter at

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