The following is a press release from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is releasing a report on Thursday, October 15, 2020, relating to the child care and education crisis brought on by COVID-19, and its impact on women and working parents in Massachusetts. The report, informed by survey and hearing data, addresses the effects on the status of women across the Commonwealth brought on by the increased burden on women and caregivers.
The report will be shared with elected officials along with recommendations regarding policy that would affect positive change on behalf of women and their families during this time.
To gather data, the Commission circulated an online survey and hosted a virtual public hearing in order to identify immediate issues. The survey, conducted through email and social media from September 2, 2020 to September 16, 2020, received over 4,000 responses by Massachusetts residents from more than 300 cities and towns. To complement the survey data, the MCSW hosted a virtual public hearing on September 15, 2020 with over 60
participants. Both sources demonstrated that the pandemic has exacerbated the barriers and inequalities women face every day.
Newly elected Chairwoman Denella Clark explains, “We are hearing about – and many of us are experiencing – increased stress levels related to the impossible task of simultaneously working and providing care at pre-COVID levels, and we are particularly concerned about the experiences of women at the margins of society who may be without the support of a safety net. It is time that we as a Commonwealth understand that early education, care, and school are essential components to every family’s and the Commonwealth’s economic health and stability.”
Specific data show that almost half of the respondents experienced a direct impact on their employment status because availability to childcare and education became limited.
Notably, Black and Latinx respondents were overrepresented in a small but significant percentage: those whose circumstances required a change in jobs or finding a new place of work.
Furthermore, 80 percent of respondents reported experiencing a significant to overwhelming amount of stress due to these changes.
In addition to releasing the report on Thursday, October 15, the MCSW will host a legislative briefing on the same day at noon and will stream the presentation to its Facebook live page.
The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is an independent state agency that was legislatively created in 1998 to advance women of the Commonwealth to full equality in all areas of life and to promote their rights and opportunities.