Worked over by pandemic, these women reach for recovery

Most accounts of the pandemic’s effect on women focus on career losses and the depth of the setback. Our new podcast centers on stories of resilience, reinvention, and hope.

The American workforce – like most around the world – was hit hard by the pandemic. But more than any other demographic, women bore the brunt of the losses. Not only were professional women set back, 30 years by some estimates, but they were also leaned on heavily to figure out the chaos of pandemic life for everyone. 

In our new podcast, “Stronger,” reporters Jessica Mendoza and Samantha Laine Perfas follow six women in Las Vegas, one of the hardest hit economies in the country. Each woman shares her unique pandemic story, covering everything from job loss, burnout, and Zoom fatigue to the strength, resilience, and hope that keep them moving forward. In many ways, they hope that what they’ve learned during this time can be a lesson for all of us.

“Some things do really need to change,” says Yarleny Roa-Dugan, a labor and delivery nurse featured in the series.

Mariza Rocha, a utility porter at The STRAT Hotel and Casino, adds: “I don’t want it to be normal. I want it to be better than before.”

This is a trailer for our podcast “Stronger,” which highlights what women have lost to this pandemic and how they’re winning it back. To learn more about the podcast and find other episodes, please visit our page

This story was designed to be heard. We strongly encourage you to experience it with your ears, but we understand that is not an option for everybody. You can find the audio player above. For those who are unable to listen, we have provided a transcript of the story below.


Samantha Laine Perfas: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of “Rethinking the News.” I’m Samantha Laine Perfas.

Jessica Mendoza: And I’m Jessica Mendoza. Today, we’re super excited to announce a new podcast from The Christian Science Monitor. It’s called “Stronger.” 

Laine Perfas: As you know, in “Rethinking the News” we take a look at news items big and small and consider how they might change the way we think about the world. Our podcast, “Stronger,” does just that, by looking at the effects of the pandemic on women and work. 

Mendoza: Most stories about women throughout the pandemic have been about job losses, the pressures of being a mom, and generally how bad it’s been. In “Stronger” we decided to focus on stories of resilience, reinvention, and hope.

Laine Perfas: We hope you’ll take a listen. We’ll be publishing all six episodes of the series right here on “Rethinking the News,” but you can also find the series by going to Or find us wherever you get your podcasts. 

Mendoza: In the meantime, here is the teaser for “Stronger.” Enjoy!


Laine Perfas: It’s almost hard to believe that we’re here. After more than a year of fear, stress, and anxiety, we’re starting to come back from the pandemic. 

CNBC News: … the recovery from the pandemic is coming along much faster than many expected… 

ABC News: … third week in a row that the number fell, so we’re moving in the right direction…

NBC News: … the road this week to look at America’s road to recovery from amusement parks to baseball …


Mendoza: But hold on. There’s still a lot to process about what we all just lived through.

Laine Perfas: That’s especially true for the people who were affected the most. And when we talk about jobs and the economy, almost nobody had it worse than women. 


Laine Perfas: I’m Samantha Laine Perfas.

Mendoza: I’m Jessica Mendoza. We’re reporters with The Christian Science Monitor. This is “Stronger.”


Laine Perfas:  As the US climbs out of the pandemic, we bring you stories from six women in Las Vegas, one of the hardest hit economies in the country. What did they lose to the pandemic – and how are they winning it back?

Mendoza: We get real personal about all the things that have made the pandemic so hard for women everywhere.

Laine Perfas: Like losing jobs – 

Mariza Rocha: They laid us off, everybody was scared about what’s happening. 

Mendoza: – or stressing out over them – 

Leslie Stevenson: “Well, if you’re a good teacher, you can teach a class, whether it’s five or five hundred.” Spoken like a true non teacher.

Laine Perfas:  – taking care of their families – 

Jennifer Ashley Ciballos: I see how my parents are struggling right now and I just want to get them out of it.

Mendoza: – and surviving the pandemic itself.

Yarleny Roa-Dugan: That was the most stressful part of the whole year I think, when my family got COVID.  


Laine Perfas:  But because lives are complicated and nuanced, there were still things that made us laugh.

Christine Hudman Pardy: “Oh, I just want my husband to be home. I just want to be around him.” Well he’s home. And he’s going to be here for a long time, you know what I mean?

Mendoza: And inspired us –

Jaelynn Ciballos: When I see her, I’m like, dang – she’s really out here, she’s like, grinding. 


Mendoza: This pandemic is a collective trauma.

Laine Perfas:  But it’s also a reminder that we as a society can do better, together.

Roa-Dugan: Some things do really need to change. 

Hudman Pardy: I think that would be my hope for the world is just more empathy, more compassion.

Rocha: I don’t want it to be normal. I want it to be better than before.  


Mendoza: The series launches on July 12th. Be sure to subscribe to “Stronger” wherever you get your podcasts! Or visit us at


You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to