PEI

COVID-19 taking toll on 'exhausted' moms, says P.E.I. Status of Women

The chair of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women is concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting women.

'The pandemic has highlighted cracks that were already existing in our society'

Deborah Langston, chair of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women, says many women work in part-time and seasonal jobs that have been affected by COVID-19. (Amelia Langston)

The chair of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women is concerned about the toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on women.

Deborah Langston said she has been hearing from single mothers who are struggling to work and look after children without the usual child-care supports of grandparents, neighbours or daycares.

"They're telling us they're exhausted. They're trying to manage all the demands and juggling all the challenges on their time," she said in an interview with CBC-Radio's Island Morning.

"I'm concerned about the emotions and the mental and the physical toll this is taking on them."

Langston said many women work in the part-time and seasonal jobs that have been greatly affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

'Unseen economy'

She said the ones who are still working — many in frontline jobs such as housekeepers, caregivers and grocery store clerks — come home and work a "double shift" raising the kids and managing the household.

She calls it the "unseen economy."

This is a situation that we have no playbook for so we're all learning as we go I guess.— Deborah Langston

"I think what we're learning is this is the backbone of our economy," she said.

"The pandemic has highlighted cracks that were already existing in our society but it has really brought them to the forefront."

Adding to the burden, she said, is that women now have to teach their children now that schools are closed. And because children may be feeling "emotionally deregulated," they could be misbehaving more often.

Positive steps

Langston said the government has made some positive steps, including financial support, food giveaways and support for family violence prevention centres.

But she said if women are expected to go back to work, the lack of child care needs to be addressed.

"This is a situation that we have no playbook for so we're all learning as we go I guess."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning

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