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Pandemic has forced more than two million working moms out of jobs

"I lost the job because of COVID"
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Posted at 5:18 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 17:09:29-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — 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 nation-wide called the Marshall plan to help working moms.

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Marilyn Rodriguez, Buffalo resident, talks about losing her job because of COVID in a Zoom interview.

“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.

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Marilyn Rodriguez, a Buffalo mom, was forced out of her job because of COVID.

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 work force because of the pandemic.

“This could potentially set women back a generation,” declared Sheri Scavone, executive director, Western New York Women’s Foundation.

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The Marshall Plan.

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.

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Sheri Scavone, executive director, Western New York Women’s Foundation, in Zoom interview.

“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.

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Karen King, executive director, Erie County Commission on the Status of Women in Zoom interview.

“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.

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Danene Darby of Buffalo, in a Zoom interview.

Darby said 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.

The local experts say women have been impacted greatly because the expectation remains — women are still considered the primary care givers.

Here are some local resources you can click to seek services for families: