Although National Women’s history month has come to an end, we must not forget or neglect the present’s strong women. In today’s blog post, I would like to call to attention the pandemic’s lasting effects and how it has disproportionately affected women. This March marks an entire year since the start of the full-fledged quarantine, and although so much has improved, there is still so much work to be done before we can go about life as we used to. As most people know, extended periods of isolation can be the catalyst to most mental health issues. On top of that, 33 million people filed for unemployment. Everyone, regardless of the situation, was suffering or anxious about income and what the future would look like was precarious and unstable.
Local businesses suffered a ton, especially a customer service or service-oriented jobs like restaurants, hotels, and hospitality. It just so happens that women dominate customer service jobs, so I’m sure I can see where this is going. Many women were laid off, and as many businesses closed, they could expect no future position or a chance to work at the same place again. This is incredibly stressful for non-college-educated women as the job pool was already pretty limited. For any household that is living from paycheck to paycheck, this pandemic would make life a lot harder than expected.
For the women who didn’t lose their jobs, many had to make the incredibly hard choice to leave their jobs to care for their children. As school has converted to online classrooms with double the amount of work, children are home all hours of the day. With no day-care services anymore, most women who worked full-time had to either leave work or demote themselves and chose fewer hours to work, making them part-time workers. With the fear of the unknown with covid-19, especially during the very beginning of the pandemic, finding a babysitter wasn’t an option for most people. Adults at this time couldn’t really trust most college students as many videos of spring break in Florida with no covid restrictions began to surface.
The combination of the anxiety due to being out of work, taking on full-time care of the children and being isolated with limited information on the pandemic has caused women to disproportionately suffer from depression and anxiety. Mental health is something that has been talked about so much more during the pandemic, and for that, I know so many are grateful because creating awareness for those suffering in silence is essential. Not to say that men can’t also be struggling with the same mental health issues; everyone’s voice deserves to be heard here; I just wanted to call to attention that there is an unequal rate of pressure for women during this time.
Since the vaccine has come out, it has created so much hope for things to go back to normal, but of course, all good things take time. It is going on for a year now since the start of this pandemic; I am hoping the future will be promising for all. Thank your mothers for all that they do, and check in regularly with everyone to make sure they are doing okay. This is a reminder that you are so strong, you are loved, and you will get through this.