VIU research investigates impact of COVID-19 pandemic on working moms

WatchMore women were laid off in the first wave of the pandemic than men according to Statistics Canada, due to the majority of service industry jobs being staffed by women. A study is getting underway at Vancouver Island University to investigate the unique impact the pandemic's had on working moms.


Nanoose Bay mother of two Karen Crucik took a break with her kids Tuesday to pick some berries along a roadside.

Crucik says her workload has ballooned due to being a scheduler in the health field and managing her kids’ homeschooling.

“It’s just busier than busy can be,” said Karen.

“She’s been going to work a lot,” said Karen’s eight-year-old daughter Sophia Crucik.

The single mom says she is lucky to live with her own mother who has helped with childcare throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think women bear the brunt of this because at the end of the day we’re still the primary caregivers,” said Karen

A research project at Vancouver Island University is looking into the gender impacts of COVID-19 as women like Karen balance children, home and elderly parents, while also taking the biggest hit from job losses, according to Statistics Canada.

“The numbers are showing how women were the first ones to lose their jobs,” said VIU Researcher Dr. Sylvie Lafreniere.

“And they’re going to be the last ones to get them back. They’re predicting it will take women a lot longer to recover economically than it will be for men.

That is because women make up the majority of workers in the service industry, from restaurant servers to hairdressers and clerks.

Then at home, researchers say women are also doing the majority of childcare and homeschooling.

So through a questionnaire, the study will examine what women are going through, to better support them in the second wave of this virus and future health crises.

“Let’s have a plan in place that looks after the women and what’s happening in the homes,” said Lafreniere.

“And what’s happening in the homes,” she said.

The executive director of the non-profit Nanaimo Family Life Association, Deborah Hollins, said the pandemic’s impact on female clients has been alarming.

“Because we are hearing more stories of domestic violence,” said Hollins.

“More stories of women in fear of going into poverty for job loss, those kinds of things.”

Women from Ladysmith to Qualicum Beach will be asked to share their experiences when the VIU research questionnaire becomes available in September.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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