Countries embracing maternal employment have opened schools sooner after COVID-19 lockdowns
originally posted on: 10 September 2020 (2020), unpublished
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.