Women’s Funds Release COVID-19’s Impact on Women in Northeast Wisconsin Study

June 29, 2021 – The Women’s Fund of Greater Green Bay, the Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region, the Women’s Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and the Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund have collaborated to produce COVID-19’s Impact on Women in Northeast Wisconsin Study.

The report is based on the response of 1,050 women from the northeast region of Wisconsin to an online survey from March 16 to April 27, 2021. The research was led by a team at the Strategic Research Institute at St. Norbert College. The purpose of this study was to measure and assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives of women in Northeast Wisconsin.

Specific focus areas of the study included:
•    Employment and income
•    Ability to pay rent/mortgage
•    Child care responsibilities
•    Children and schooling
•    Post-secondary education
•    Mental health
•    Hostility and violence

Key findings from the report:

•    Faced with the sudden loss of child care and schooling, the COVID-19 shutdown contributed to an  increased responsibility burden for working women in Northeast Wisconsin since women were more frequently responsible for the direct supervision of their children and coordinating at-home and online schooling.

•    Working women who care for children experienced increased rates of poor mental health and stress during the pandemic due to the significant time spent doing unpaid care work and challenges at work due to time constraints.

•    The pandemic exacerbated long-established disparities in violence against women in some instances. Those that reported violence, experienced more frequent abuse during the pandemic.

•    Daily stress increased during the pandemic. Most women expressed confidence that daily stress will drop after the pandemic but not to pre-pandemic levels.

•    Lower-income and unpartnered women in Northeast Wisconsin experienced unique challenges citing less flexible work schedules and higher rates of furlough compared to other women, along with more child care and school responsibilities.

“The impact of the pandemic has been devastating for women on all levels – economically, socially, mentally and physically”, said Julie Keller, executive director of the Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region. “We heard the statistics and stories from a national perspective, but this study has captured the impact for women locally in Northeast Wisconsin. This data will guide us and the community on where our resources should be invested to have the greatest impact for women to help them not just recover but also thrive.”

The entire report, along with a link to an interactive dashboard, can be found online at www.womensfundgb.org.

This collective study and interactive dashboard are made possible through a grant from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership, a collaboration between the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, U.S. Venture, and the J.J. Keller Foundation.