CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – This week’s lunchtime Livestream interview with Senator Eric Lesser was in commemoration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.
This week’s guests were board members of the Hampden County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls: Commission Chair Gabrielle Jackson, Assistant Principal and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leader at Chestnut Talented and Gifted Middle School in Springfield, Vice-Chair Pattie Hallberg, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, and Member Lizzy Ortiz, Housing Retention Coordinator at the City of Springfield.
The panel discussed the challenges facing women and girls during the pandemic and disproportionately more women of color. Many women who are now unemployed worked in low-paying front-line jobs in nursing homes, restaurants, retail, and hotels.
Nearly 3 million American women have left the labor force since March of 2020 due to issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. While some were laid off, others had to quit their jobs to take care of children and other family members.
Child care, pay equity, housing, and transportation assistance are several key factors that affect women’s ability to improve their quality of life. They also addressed the social and emotional issues that have grown during the pandemic, and how isolation has put many women and children in danger from abusers.
The panel expressed their hopes for support from the legislature and social service organizations in helping to provide funding and services to help women and girls achieve social and economic parity.