Countries Embracing Maternal Employment Have Opened Schools Sooner after COVID-19 Lockdowns
Ansgar Hudde1, Natalie Nitsche1
1Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
During and after the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns, the timing and the
intensity of school reopenings have varied across countries. We show that
societal gender ideology likely has affected school closure and opening
policies. Societies that are more supportive of maternal employment have
reopened schools significantly sooner than societies less supportive of maternal
employment, relative to other opening measures and net of infection rates. Our
study contributes novel evidence on the role of attitudes on policy-decision
making, and unveils the presence of a potential gender ideology bias in policy-
makers’ ad-hoc decision-making under time pressure. The epidemic threat
remains high and questions about the operation of schools continue to be a
pressing matter. Considering this bias in decision-making can improve further
policy-measures during the remainder of the pandemic, and beyond.