Forced to take care of kids at home, women hit especially hard by pandemic job losses

Women have suffered the majority of pandemic-related job losses, especially women of color, as they've been forced to leave their jobs to take care of their kids at home.

According to the latest from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, all 140,000 net jobs lost in December were women's jobs.

Amy Sanchez, a single mother of four in Riverside County, is one of the many women who had to take on a new responsibility during the pandemic: patiently guiding her children through the distractions that come with learning from home.

After 20 years in retail management, Sanchez was forced to leave her full-time job.

"I didn't have a choice because I don't have anybody to watch my kids or to help them even through virtual learning," Sanchez said.

"Women are having to pay a really high price in terms ... their livelihood, but their careers, and unfortunately, with their own lives," said Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez.

Women's unemployment in December was at 6.3%, 8.4% for Black women 9.1% for Latinas, and 11.4% for women with disabilities, according to the National Women's Law Center.

Sanchez has been getting by with unemployment insurance and picking up jobs here and there.

"I had to dip into my 401K," she said, adding she's also picked up some work through delivery service apps.

Currently, 1 in 11 Latinas aged 20 and over, and 1 in 12 Black women remain unemployed, according to labor bureau statistics. Some were laid off and others were faced with a tough choice.

Martinez says leaders must assess how the reopening of schools will impact women and their families.

"You're going to see then the folks who are left out, that cannot go back to work because they simply can't," she said. "We have to talk about reopening schools and how that impacts families, particularly women."

Despite the hardships, Sanchez is a go-getter and keeps a positive outlook.

"I started going to massage therapy classes online," she shared, hoping to open up her own business in the future. Sanchez says her inspiration is her children.

"They're looking up to me and I have to inspire them... I just have to shine my light wherever I can," Sanchez said.
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