Letters, Dec. 30-Jan. 1: Pandemic may unravel progress for women in the workplace
COVID-19 may unravel progress
COVID-19 has had an impact worldwide, and working women are far from immune to the effects. Women are overrepresented in fields at a high risk of being disrupted, and most essential workers are women in service-related careers. While women in all lines of work are vulnerable to job loss, those in professional fields are particularly susceptible to the changes brought on by the virus — particularly because they have the most to lose.
We’ve made huge advancements in workplace gender equality in the last several decades, but COVID-19 has the potential to undo those positive changes by causing professional women to leave their careers to care for their families.
Child care duties have traditionally been allotted mostly to women, and with many schools remaining closed, families are reverting to the family dynamics of the past. Women find they need to shorten their already-compromised working hours to take care of their children. Even in dual-income families, women are still tasked with most of the caregiving responsibilities while their children are home from school.
With children staying home, it’s usually necessary that one of the parents stay with them and bear the majority of educational and social needs. Since women are more likely to work fewer hours or for less pay, it’s understandable that they are typically the ones to give up their jobs to fulfill the needs of their children.
One could argue that the working culture in the U.S. is inherently unsupportive of women, but the reality is that women have managed to thrive in the professional environment despite the setbacks they’ve faced. COVID-19 has made the inequalities of the past come back to the foreground, and companies must communicate with their female workforce if they want to retain the progress they’ve made in the last several decades. Offering support with child care, age appropriate social activities with safe COVID measures and reviewing leave policies are all necessary.
Professional working women have already been supporting themselves and their families within an economy that is arguably unsuited to their needs. COVID-19 was simply an unwelcome hindrance in an already difficult atmosphere for working women, especially those with children.
Inspired by the community
All of us at the Park City Chamber/Bureau wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. Despite the stresses of 2020 and the challenges ahead, there is much for which we can be grateful.
As a recent arrival, I have experienced firsthand Park City’s warm, welcoming spirit; every resident should be proud of the open-hearted kindness that is a natural part of our community. I am inspired by the selfless spirit I have encountered among our business, education and government partners, and the energy and vision of people throughout Summit County. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, our shared commitment to well-managed, sustainable economic development is unshaken. I am blessed and inspired to be part of it.
The sacrifices and loss so many have experienced this year will be part of our story forever, and I am grateful for the fortitude of our community and for the light that we can see ahead. The arrival of promising vaccines is a long-waited sign of relief. The amazing recovery of our local economy through the summer months is encouraging. Like you, I am praying for snow, snow, snow to help us in the crucial months ahead.
As we look back on 2020 and ahead to 2021, it is clear that our success is based on the partnerships and collaboration that produced so much innovation in the face of 2020’s unprecedented crisis. This commitment to working together will serve us well as we continue adapting to COVID-19 while focusing on medium and long-term goals for our community, environment and economy.
As we mark the first of many Utah Christmases, my husband Rick and I find this year especially meaningful. I am grateful for your warm welcome, inspired by your strength and vision, and look forward to leading the Chamber/Bureau as, together, we celebrate the season and embrace the challenges the new year will undoubtedly bring.
Park City Chamber/Bureau president and CEO
A mind-boggling suggestion
We have all suffered much the past nine months and made many adjustments to our daily lives. There no longer is a “normal.” However, one bright light was the ski resorts announcing they would open for the season. Yes, there are restrictions — masks, distancing, who can ride together on a chair or in a gondola, reservations to ski, reservations to eat, etc. Far from what we are all used to. However, there is one thing the resorts are suggesting that I find mind boggling. We have been told to limit our socializing with members of our own household and yet the resorts are encouraging (and in some instances rewarding) those who carpool. This makes no sense. Carpooling, by definition, is individuals from DIFFERENT households agreeing to take one car and ride together to a destination. Three members from the same household, even if each has a car, riding together is NOT carpooling! Why would the resorts urge us to take such actions when it is counterintuitive to everything else we are encouraged to do? I totally agree with carpooling — but in the middle of a pandemic? Perhaps when the resorts determined the number of allowable skiers on the mountain they should have factored in parking. This is not the time to encourage such behavior unless the resorts want to see another early shutdown.
Threads of the community
To Erika in Jeremy Ranch: Thank you for making your community more safe and being a beacon of kindness through 2020. I have no idea how many masks you made and distributed to the community (1,000-plus?) but your generosity has been appreciated and I am humbled by your work.
Each time I wear one of your masks, I realize how much the threads of your sewing have held the community together.
Full transparency needed
I read with interest the article about the Park City Council’s discussion last week regarding the possibility of requesting voter approval for roughly $88 million to fund the arts and culture district (and affordable housing) in the Bonanza/Kearns Boulevard area of our little mountain town. This discussion is coming just two to three years after the $48 million bond funding for the Treasure/Armstrong Ranch land purchase and the $25 million Park City debt-contribution toward the Bonanza Flat property. Further research shows that between 1998 and 2006, another $40 million of bonds were floated for various other purposes. And voters have heard about the Park City Board of Education’s continued efforts to secure funding for the school district, despite voter rejections of similar recent requests.
For a tiny town with a population of slightly more than 8,400 residents, this level of debt ranks right up there with our federal congressional leaders’ obsession with perpetually higher budgets and stimulus funding without any spoken plan as to how it will be repaid! “Borrow today; let future generations worry about it being repaid” seems to be the mantra of elected officials everywhere!
Individually, the recent Park City bond proposals were/are for sound intentions, and received broad voter support (of course, there is the fact that Park City’s second-homeowners carry a disproportionate amount of the tax burden, without having a vote on such matters). Yet it would seem critical today that voters receive a “plain English” and transparent explanation and model from the mayor and the City Council disclosing how a town of 8,400 will be able to repay such enormous debts. And in that context, they should disclose what other competing projects, a few years out, will need funding, so that any vote can occur in the context of all projects’ relative importance and priority.
Our elected officials now famously approved this past spring some $15,000 for the middle-of-the-night Black Lives Matter street mural without any public disclosure or discussion. Will they provide full transparency on these larger projects?
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