MADISON, Wis. —  Often referred to as the "she-cession," women left the workforce in droves during the pandemic lockdown.

But things may be changing.

According to a UW-Madison professor, there's a big return to work in Wisconsin right now. Laura Dresser is an assistant clinical professor with the university's Institute for Research on Poverty. 

"There are more workers in the labor force today than there were in February of 2020 before the shutdowns," she said. 

She added the labor force participation rate is about 66% in the state.

"That doesn't mean women's lives aren't really stressed by the pandemic, but I think we haven't seen a kind of permanent shift in work as a result at least here in Wisconsin," Dresser said. 

Dresser said  women in the workforce were more impacted by the pandemic because many worked in sectors that contracted rapidly.

"Women work in retail and hospitality disproportionately, and so they were really impacted by the shut downs," she said. 

Dresser also said those jobs are back, more or less.

Research shows many women quit their jobs to help children through virtual learning when schools closed. 

"Women with very young children have faced really hard daycare shortages, shutdowns as a result of the pandemic. The kids who aren't vaccinated yet, there's just a lot more work to the care there," Dresser said. "I think nationally those numbers are down a little but again not as much as people expected them to be."

Dresser said companies need to show support for families and childcare to bring women who are still at home back to the workforce.