E5: Challenges and Opportunities for Women With Families Arising From COVID-19

Penney Stanch, CIH CSP CPE Moderator
Stanch Worker Health LLC
United States of America
Penney Stanch, CIH CSP CPE Presenter
Stanch Worker Health LLC
United States of America
James McGlothlin, Ph.D., CPE, FAIHA Co-Presenter
Purdue University
Grand Rapids, MI 
United States of America
Tue, 5/24: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM CDT
Education Session 
Music City Center 
Room: Meeting Room 205 A 


The world changed from December 2019 to the present because of COVID-19, especially for women in the workplace with families. Evidence shows their physical & emotional well-being were adversely affected disproportionately by the burden of balancing personal time, social responsibilities, job, & family. Women, shouldering the majority of family duties, were suddenly struck with: a) increased work; b)increase caregiving responsibilities for family; and 3) homeschooling their children.Working women with caregiver responsibilities are challenged daily with no clear outcomes post-pandemic. During COVID-19 nearly 50% of mothers took unpaid sick leave due to school closures, increasing to 65% for low-income mothers, to 70% among mothers working part-time jobs. More than 50% of mothers who worked with school age children said stress & worry of the pandemic affected their mental health. One in five characterized mental stress as the major factor. 1.8 million women dropped out of the labor force. Yet only 16% of women have had the opportunity to seek mental health care. This session will: 1) give an overview of the work environment faced by women pre-pandemic, today, and where it may be going; 2) focus on selected case studies to identify stressors associated with balancing work & family during COVID-19 & the altered workplace; and 3) recommend strategies for both worker & employer to help mitigate the excess burden.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion, the participant will be able to:

• Examine workplace advances and challenges creating stress for women that existed pre-pandemic.
• Recall the impacts of the abrupt, unanticipated shift to working from home.
• Review the strategies attempted to continue working and the resulting new stressors.
• Examine ongoing stressors evolving from return-to-work environments.
• Discuss the pros and cons for maintaining family-work balance.
• Recommend strategies to implement that mitigate these stressors for women and employers. 

Content Level


Interactive Session Experience



Available as part of AIHce OnDemand
Risk Assessment and Management
Total Exposure Health/Total Worker Health®