LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — The coronavirus continues to impact the lives of families around the world. A new study is shining a light on the disproportionate burden COVID-19 places on women in particular.
Especially, with the large number of students still participating in virtual schooling, many women have been forced to leave the workforce. It’s a problem Vice President Kamala Harris has called a “national emergency.”
Loudoun Commission on Women and Girls surveyed 400 women across Loudoun County to learn how women are being impacted by COVID-19.
“As we noticed what was happening across the nation, we wanted to know what was happening in Loudoun County and we had over 400 responses,” said Angela Mitchell with Loudoun Commission on Women and Girls.
The survey results found that support with child care, access to healthcare and connections to workforce support were the top ways COVID-19 continues to impact women across our area.
“All women are struggling. It does not matter whether or not you are on the lower end of the spectrum of income or the higher end of the spectrum. COVID-19 does not discriminate and it is impacting all of us so that was really eye-opening for us,” said Mitchell.
“We still live in a very male-dominated society. I think that men are not expected to take on some of those traditional roles that women are still expected to do. In a two-parent household, more than likely the woman will stay home and leave the workforce and the male is going to continue to work,” Mitchell added.
She said the Loudoun Commission on Women and Girls is now focusing on how they can help support women during this time. This summer they plan to host a virtual job fair geared towards women with resources to help.
“It’s devastating. Women still have to make a choice between whether or not they need to continue work or whether they need to focus on their family. We are superwomen. This is Women’s History Month, we are celebrating women but at the same time these are challenges that women are still facing,” said Mitchell.
The Loudoun Commission on Women and Girls plans to do another study in April where they will translate the survey into several different languages to get a better understanding of how they can support women in the community.
“I still think we are dealing with some of those 'isms.' Sexism. Issues of equality. I just think that while we’ve come so far, we still have a long ways to go,” said Mitchell.
To learn more about the Loudoun Commission on Women and Girls, click here.