WEST ALLIS, Wisconsin — Lexie Higgins has done the math, and it doesn’t work.
Higgins lost her job in entertainment in the middle of March, the same week that a statewide stay-at-home order shut down her entire industry along with a huge swath of the state’s economy. For seven months now, she has been at home caring for her two young children.
It’s not that Higgins hasn’t been looking for work. But starting at the bottom rung of another industry would mean paying for child care again, by far her family’s biggest expense, on a much lower salary. When she sat down to figure out the numbers, Higgins realized that a $15 an hour job would net her an additional $30 a week.
“I’ve kind of been stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Higgins said.
Across the country, the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately driven women out of the workforce — hitting female-dominated industries like Higgins’s or forcing couples to choose between higher and lower wage earners in order to provide child care.