Black and Latinx moms are feeling the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from The Mom Project’s WerkLabs, which examines how their struggles continue nearly a year into the global health crisis.
While everyone has been affected by the ongoing pandemic to a degree, study authors say the picture is exponentially worse for women of color.
According to new data released last month, employers cut 140,000 jobs in December. CNN reports that the data also revealed a shocking gender gap: Women accounted for all the job losses, losing 156,000 jobs, while men gained 16,000.
While the overall unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent last month, it rose to 8.4% for Black women; Hispanic women have the highest rate at 9.1 percent and white women have the lowest at 5.1 percent.
The Mom Project study found that one of the reasons women of color have been hit hardest by the pandemic is due to their job types and industries — education, retail, hospitality — and due to increased child care demands at home.
One-third of Black moms and one-fourth of Latinx moms report are unable to work from home during the pandemic, compared to only ten percent of both white and Asian moms.
For many Black and Latinx moms who are not afforded the option of remote work they are put at a greater risk of exposure to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and it also leaves their child care security in flux.
“Moms are currently in a delicate balancing act and many are unfortunately going to topple over due to the unrelenting pressures of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic if they don’t receive much-needed resources, help and support,” said Dr. Pam Cohen, president of WerkLabs and the study’s lead author.
“Women of color, especially, aren’t able to focus on their careers or their families because the pandemic has stripped them of that choice, or they’re drowning in an attempt to maintain both.”
With Black and Latinx moms reporting being single mothers at significantly higher rates, they shoulder more at-home responsibilities. Twice as many Black mothers report doing more than 90 percent of household work in comparison to white and Asian moms.
“As a mom of color, I feel like there’s an expectation that we have to be strong … that we have to be resilient,” said one respondent. “And, while I agree with that to an extent, it’s exhausting being resilient all the time.”
The study also found that the weight of the pandemic isn’t just crushing women of color — mothers, in general, are suffering.
More than 80 percent of the 1,500 plus women surveyed said they feel overwhelmed attempting to balance work and at-home demands, while 75 percent report feeling “mom guilt” while working, unable to devote their full attention to their children.
“Child care consists of a lot of screen time,” reports one mom of color respondent.
“It feels terrible to be spending time at home, but having to be more connected to work and colleagues online than with the children that are physically in your presence.”