A woman pushes a baby stroller through a gentle snow fall on a sidewalk just below Parliament Hill in Ottawa Saturday, January 8, 2011. A new report from Royal Bank of Canada says more than 20,000 women left Canada’s workforce between February and October, but about triple the number of men joined it. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

A woman pushes a baby stroller through a gentle snow fall on a sidewalk just below Parliament Hill in Ottawa Saturday, January 8, 2011. A new report from Royal Bank of Canada says more than 20,000 women left Canada’s workforce between February and October, but about triple the number of men joined it. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Women leaving workforce faster than men, childcare playing big role in exodus: study

The study warns that this pattern could slow down the economic recovery

A new report from Royal Bank of Canada says more than 20,000 women left Canada’s workforce between February and October, but about triple the number of men joined it.

The study says raising children is likely the cause of the exodus, which is seeing women between ages 20 and 24 and 35 and 39 abandoning work faster than most other cohorts.

Mothers with children under six only made up 41 per cent of the labour force in February and yet, they account for two-thirds of the exodus.

The study warns that this pattern could slow down the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and impact the future of industries largely dominated by women.

The economists behind the study are particularly worried because the high number of women who have lost their jobs during the pandemic are not temporarily laid off and don’t appear to be looking for work like their male counterparts.

RBC says this could be happening because women are more likely to work in industries slower to recover from COVID-19 restrictions, their ability to work from home may be much lower than men because they dominate the hospitality, retail and arts sectors and they often take on more onerous responsibilities associated with raising kids.

READ MORE: Feds probing ways to address COVID-19 impact on women

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