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ENCORE: How COVID-19 Has Put More Pressure On Working Mothers

moms, equity, gender roles, mothers, children, coronavirus, kids
Susan Walsh
AP Images
In this Wednesday, April 8, 2020, photo Cari Rothenberg, left, helps her daughter Evelynn, 5, in the backyard of their home in Glen Burnie, Md.

This interview originally aired on June 11, 2020. 

The coronavirus lockdown created many burdens for working mothers. Research is showing they have taken on a disproportionate share of day care, home schooling and housework. 

Now, the re-opening of our country is causing a new set of problems for moms.

The lack of child care options, with day care centers, camps and schools closed in many areas, may actually force women out of the labor force to take care of their children. 


Even a short time away from a job often brings permanent costs, in terms of missing promotions and opportunities. In fact, a recent United Nations report states that the limited gains made in the past decade for women in the workforce are at risk of being rolled back, and an entire generation of women could be effected. 



Joining Idaho Matters live to discuss this are Sharon Paterson, Boise State University sociology professor, Beth Oppenheimer, the Executive Director of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, and Katie Hamm, Vice President at the Early Childhood Policy Center for American Progress. 


“This is not a problem that the pandemic created," says Hamm. "This is a problem that the pandemic exacerbated.”


She says access to quality, affordable childcare are public problems needing public solutions like legislation and higher pay of care providers. Data shows essential workers earning low wages are disproportionately women of color, making it even harder for them to access quality child care. 


“It would help families that would reduce their stress, that would provide children with more opportunities for early learning and would address the wages of providers.”


As COVID-19 cases spread through the U.S. and Idaho, we’re committed to keeping you updated and informed. You can get updated info on cases, closures and how to stay healthy at any time on our Coronavirus news blog.


Have a question or comment for the show? Tweet @KBSX915 using #IdahoMatters


Member support is what makes local COVID-19 reporting possible. Support this coverage here.

Frankie Barnhill is the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast. She's always interested in hearing surprising and enlightening stories about life in the West. Have an idea for Idaho Matters? Drop her a line!
Gemma is the host of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show which broadcasts live Monday-Friday at noon. She is an award-winning journalist and has spent the majority of her broadcasting career in Idaho. Gemma was a television news anchor and reporter in Boise for close to 15 years. She came to Boise in 1999 to start Fox 12.