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When it comes to returning to some of the trappings of pre-pandemic life, the truth is that the workplaces we’re returning to should be anything but “normal” by pre-pandemic standards.

We’re on an optimistic path out of the pandemic, toward some semblance of what could be called a more “normal” reality. As we carefully track variants and vaccination rates, we’re also charting a path, in many cases, back to in-person work.

As we strive toward whatever the workplace of the future looks like, however, there needs to be recognition that parenting and caregiving—and their relationships to work in America—have been fundamentally and irrevocably changed. This is especially true for women and members of the BIPOC community, who left the workforce in greater numbers during the pandemic to care for children or family members, as well as the millions of Americans who still face extremely difficult choices and circumstances when it comes to balancing work and family life.

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