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Without child care bailout, workforce could lose women

Katy Briggs poses with her two daughters.
Diana Kapatos Photography
Katy Briggs poses with her two daughters.


Working families across the country are figuring out how to provide care for their children with remote and hybrid schooling this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Katy Briggs, a physician’s assistant and single mother, said that she’s struggled to balance telemedicine calls, her children’s education, and everything else.

“It’s very hard to do my full-time job and help educate my children and be a mom,” said Briggs. “I was experiencing such a high level of burnout at the end of the school year.”

Additionally, she said, the effects of isolation and limited social interaction have taken a visible toll on her kids. She's glad that she's found child care for this school year and that her children will go to the Jewish Community Center for its hybrid learning support program.

“My children are not thriving right now, so I’m hoping that some normalcy this fall, even if it’s different than normal, will help them,” she said.

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However, finding child care is tough for a lot of parents, particularly as social distancing needs have reduced availability at centers that have remained open.

A study by the United Nations this year warns that the global recession sparked by the pandemic will result in a prolonged dip for women’s incomes and labor force participation. This could also mean compounded impacts for women already living in poverty. 

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said two-thirds of medical field workers and minimum-wage workers are women. 

She said that without federal funding to states for child care and other pandemic-related needs, women’s place in the workforce could be at stake.

“This could set back women’s achievements in the workplace by a generation,” said Hochul. “Women have strived very hard to be able to have the support system so they can go to work.”

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.
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