BUFFALO, NY -- Working moms have been hit hard by the pandemic, forcing some to leave the workforce or cut back drastically on their work hours.
But there’s a big effort underway nationwide called the Marshall plan to help working moms.
“And it was very difficult, but I lost the job because of COVID,” explained Marilyn Rodriguez, Buffalo resident.
Rodriguez, a mother of two boys, 12 and 6, is among the more than two-million women nationwide forced out of a job because of the pandemic.
“A few of my friends lost everything and they didn't even get unemployment because they didn't work enough. They had just started working and just started figuring it out and bam — everything happened,” remarked Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said she's lucky because her boyfriend works full time and she's been able to stay home and help her kids with remote learning.
One in four women are expected to leave the workforce because of the pandemic.
“This could potentially set women back a generation,” declared Sheri Scavone, executive director, Western New York Women’s Foundation.
The Marshall Plan for Moms is being promoted nationally by a prominent group of women. It brings to light the value of work women do as mothers.
It calls on the Biden Administration to implement the following:
- Establish a task force to create a Marshall Plan for moms
- Implement a short-term monthly payment to moms depending on needs and resources
- Pass long overdue policies like paid family leave, affordable childcare and pay equity.
“Even when women start to reenter the workforce, it is potentially going to be at a lower level at lower pay,” Scavone noted.
“If we aren't prepared to make a what — we refer to as a systemic change across institutional platforms — then this will be a missed opportunity,” stated Karen King, executive director, Erie County Commission on the Status of Women.
King said some working moms have been forced to reduce their hours and take a step back in their careers.
“Many women have lost their jobs and are scrambling around to keep their heads above water and take care of their families,” King said.
For other career moms, like Danene Darby of Buffalo, a contract specialist and mother of a seven year old boy, Darby must now must work remotely.
“I struggled really hard just adjusting to having to work at home and being a full-time mom,” Darby replied.
Darby said she misses going into work.
“Honestly, it was a really hard adjustment. I'm an extroverted person, so I thrive at going to work,” reflected Darby.
Experts say women have been impacted greatly because the expectation remains — women are still considered the primary care givers.