Toni Perrien Husbands gave up the job she loved as a financial coach for low-income families as she tried to juggle her children's remote learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was like a boulder just kind of knocked me off my feet," she said. "Literally, there were days when I just did not get up."
Perrien Husbands said she felt like a failure.
"Intellectually, I know that [I'm not]," she said. "I had to accept I can't do everything."
Restaurant owner Francis Tario is struggling to "do everything" too. The mother of five is trying to hang on to her landmark Los Angeles diner, Dupar's, after laying off 85 employees, many of them women, and closing their second location.
"We had sales of only $4.95 a day for a slice of pie. Someone would come by just for slice of pie," she said. "It was very sad that we had to let go of the long-term staff. Every day it's been a challenge."
Women held a majority of service jobs lost in the pandemic — positions in hospitality, food service, health care, teaching and education. Due to the demands of schooling, four times as many women left the workforce in the fall compared to men.
In December alone, 156,000 jobs were lost, all of them among women. Meanwhile, men gained 16,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"It doesn't matter if your productivity is high, if people feel like they're doing a bad job. So giving parents, specifically moms, the support so that they understand that my work cares can have really big impacts, ultimately keeping moms from dropping out," said Annie Warshaw, a consultant in career equity.
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