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.

Introducing: Stronger

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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.”

Episode transcript

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