The pandemic has caused record unemployment numbers, but working mothers have been hit particularly hard
Mothers leaving workforce 1.5.21
C1 3 the coronavirus pandemic... but few as troubling as the numbers involving one group... working mothers.
Statistics show the pandemic has driven more than two million mothers out of the workforce... an exodus experts say could set back the u-s economy... families... and gender equity for decades to come.
Abc 36 news producer echo gamel spoke to two mothers who quit their jobs... one a state lawmaker... hoping to help mothers get back into the workforce and stay in.
Courtesy txt:courtesy: sarah sarah mattingly left full-time job during pandemic to care for her children courtesy txt:courtesy: sarah mattingly number of mothers leave workforce during pandemic white anna baumann deputy director, kentucky center for economic policy courtesy txt:courtesy: sarah mattingly mattingly left full-time job during pandemic to care for her children courtesy txt:courtesy: white rep.
Josie raymond (d) louisville courtesy txt:courtesy: rep.
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Josie raymond (d) louisville abc 36 news white record number of mothers leave workforce during pandemic sarah mattingly was a physical therapist in winchester for 16 years.
"i loved being a physical therapist.
I loved serving our community.
I loved where i worked.
I love the people i worked with."
In september...about six months into the pandemic... mattingly put in her 30-days notice at work... the same month a staggering 865,000 women in the u-s left the workforce, according to the bureau of labor statistics.
Mattingly says she left a job she loves for something she loves far more.... her children.
"i knew because i never wanted to leave my job."
According to the kentucky center for economic policy... research shows... when the pandemic forced daycares and schools to close... families took on an additional 27 hours of child care a week because of the shutdowns... with women handling a majority of it.
The center says statistics show twice as many women as men left their jobs because childcare issues brought on by the pandemic.
"as a result of this strain of taking on so much responsibility, that's forced some women to reduce their work hours or some women to quit work altogether."
That's the situation mattingly found herself in.
She says.... with her husband working out of town five days a week... she came home from her full-time job only to begin a second one.... educating her three children.
"it only took about two weeks and i was like, this has to stop, i just cannot maintain it."
State representative josie raymond is also a mother of three who suddenly found it impossible to juggle it all.
Raymond left her full-time job at the university of louisville in the spring to care for her children.
"it's time for us to stop making people think that we are superwomen, to stop making it look so easy.
It's really hard."
Raymond kept her other job.... representing her constituents in frankfort.
Last year... she became the first woman to give birth while serving in the statehouse and often had her newborn by her side during the legislative session.
Raymond says..... even before the pandemic put a spotlight on the lack of support for working mothers... she was pushing for policies like paid family leave, affordable childcare and pre-k for all three and four year olds in the state.
Now... she says additional policies are needed from lawmakers and employers to get mothers back into the workforce.... including creating more training and educational opportunities that provide a direct path to employment and allowing for more flexible work environments.
"it's time for us to say there are some of the changes were could make that would make life easier for working moms and make our communities and our state stronger."
Raymond.... like mattingly.... says she plans to return to a full-time job once the pandemic is over and schools reopen .
"it's going to take a long time to get hundreds of thousands of women across kentucky back into the workforce but that's where they want to be."
Echo gamel... abc 36 news.
Representative raymond has sponsored four bills this legislative session aimed at helping working mothers... two for parental leave... one for child care assistance and another for pre- school