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Working moms disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 5:14 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 20:28:54-04

DENVER — Study after study shows working moms have been disproportionately impacted over the past year with job losses hitting women hard in the service industry, retail and hospitality.

Nikki Connell knows firsthand.

Over the past decade, Connell built her business as a self-employed massage therapist, but this past year has been trying in so many ways. She was forced to temporarily suspend massage services during the early days of the pandemic and suddenly found herself at home trying to teach her two daughters.

"I was a single mom and couldn’t work really a whole bunch until fall of 2019 when my daughter entered kindergarten full-time. I was so excited, I was like, 'Yes, I get to work.' Then, COVID happened that next March, and they were home all the time," Connell said.

RELATED: Survey finds women-owned businesses are less likely to see strong recovery from pandemic impact

Women are being forced to take on more responsibility at home, and finding childcare can be a challenge.

"Our economy, we cannot talk about recovery, we cannot begin to recover until we find a way to get women back to work," said Kristen Strohm, president and CEO of the Common Sense Institute.

Strohm is also a mother of four, and she worries the pandemic could lead to a major setback for women.

"For perspective, the Great Recession, which we all remember, women only account for 30% of the total jobs lost. What we’re seeing today is that in this recession, women account for over 55% of the job lost," Strohm said.

Numbers only tell part the story. A study from the Pew Research Center shows mothers are three times more likely than fathers to have lost a job, but it's hard to measure the emotional toll this past year has taken on families.

“I think it was just trying to not let me children see how much this had impacted me and how scared and stressed that I was," Connell said.