The challenges of reintegrating women into the labor market

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – Local experts say women will lose a generation of workforce gains, due to the pandemic. A year later, it is difficult for women, especially mothers, to find their place and achieve their goals.

“It’s been a year of change, of learning to adapt,” said Ann Nichols, a lawyer and mother of two boys aged 6 and 3.

As a lawyer, she was used to busy days, but in March of last year it all happened at a breakneck pace.

Ann nichols

Ann Nichols and her sons, Andy and Rory, ages 6 and 3

“On Monday, I suddenly became a stay-at-home mom and teacher and my law firm was completely on the back burner,” Nichols said.

It was a juggling act of zoom calls, homework and discussions with clients, where she heard many of the same stories.

“I represent people who work for minimum wage, who have children at home. A lot of my clients, especially moms, have been forced to quit their jobs, ”Nichols said.

41% of women in our community are either the main breadwinner or the sole breadwinner of their families, according to the WNY Women’s Foundation. In COVID, 1 in 4 women left the labor market.

And a year later, he’s struggling.

“It’s going to be very difficult for women to regain their balance, not all daycare centers are reopened because they have their own struggles,” said Teresa Bair, president-elect of the WNYWF.

And many plan to remain unemployed in order to be there for their children.

“The incentive just isn’t there and it frankly doesn’t make sense to a lot of women,” Nichols said.

Things are easier now for Nichols. Her children are now back in school and daycare and she can focus more on work.

Nichols' sons are back to in-person learning

Ann nichols

Nichols’ sons are back to in-person learning

“It’s really more about being able to take the punches and making those changes if necessary, if I have to stay home, I have to stay home. Someone has to be there with my little guys. it’s about creating a network that can support that kind of lifestyle, ”Nichols said.

This is where the WNY Women’s Foundation comes in. She’s hosting a Monday afternoon event called What She’s Made Of.

“And the point is to talk to women, telling them you can do it,” Bair said.

This is your chance to meet and hear from women you can relate to, in the hopes of uplifting each other.

“Just kind of to start a dialogue, to raise the issues, to let people know that there is a community of support here for you and we hope it will be just a small step to give people hope. “said Bair.

The event is virtual and starts at 3:45 p.m. Tickets cost $ 50 for individuals and $ 150 for a household of four. All the money raised supports the WNYWF.

Throughout the event, they will introduce the unsung heroes of our community and talk to local employers about what they can do to help.

“We don’t want to survive, we want to be leaders, we want to achieve our goals,” Bair said.

Record, Click here.




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