“A lot of women have left the labor force — the question is, how permanent will it be?” said Janet Currie, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University

There was a time when Naomi Peña could seemingly do it all: Work a full-time job and raise four children on her own, AP reports.

But when the viral pandemic struck early last year, her personal challenges began to mount and she faced an aching decision: Her children or her job?

She chose her children. In August, Peña left her well-paying position as an executive assistant at Google in New York City. In doing so, she joined millions of other women who are sitting out the job market recovery while caring for relatives, searching for affordable child care, reassessing their careers or shifting their work-life priorities.

“I had to pivot,” said Peña, 41, who said the pandemic disrupted her children’s lives and led her to suspend her career because she felt she was needed more at home than at work.

“I walked away from a salary job with amazing benefits, so ultimately I could be present with my kids,” she said.

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