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Introducing Overtime: A New Series Following 6 N.H. Women As The Pandemic Fades

Mary McIntyre

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on women. The demands of their homes, their heath and safety and their financial wellbeing have taken a tremendous toll.

NHPR's new series, Overtimewill explore how women have been getting through the pandemic and how they're moving forward as the pandemic fades. NHPR's health and equity reporter Alli Fam is leading this project, and she spoke with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about her work so far. Below is a transcript of their conversation. 

Rick Ganley: Okay, first, can you tell us how this project came about? What made you want to devote this series to women in the pandemic?

Alli Fam: Yeah. So as you just pointed out, we've seen that this pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women and those effects have been even more acute for women of color. And just watching that all unfold, I think it's also just become increasingly clear that so much of how our economy and our society is structured was really never made to support women. And so as the pandemic fades, I just wanted to make sure that we don't stop tracking that. And for me, I really wanted to do that in a way that felt rooted to New Hampshire and also in a way that felt really rooted in people's experiences. So through the stories of these women that we'll be following, we're going to hear the kind of deeply personal and intimate ways in which women continue to balance all of their obligations, that being ones that we would traditionally categorizes work, but also all of the kind of labor that they take on inside and outside of their jobs.

Ganley: My understanding is you've got half a dozen women you'd be following long-term here. What have been some of the challenges and struggles that you've seen or some of the themes that you're getting from the series as you've started out?

Fam: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's tough to like say there are massive themes because everyone's experiences really are so different. But I think a lot of the stories I have heard have really been centered around the ways in which the pandemic has kind of forced women to renegotiate all of the different roles they take on in their lives. So whether that's motherhood, whether that's caregiving, whether that's friendship, whether that's being a coworker, because the pandemic has just forced these roles to collide in ways that are new. You know, you're on a Zoom meeting and your kid pops in, or you can't work remotely and then you're stuck with, do I take my kid to work or do I leave them at home while they're trying to do remote school?

Ganley: It's really complex, isn't it? I mean, there's so many different scenarios. But who are some of the women that we're going to be meeting in this series, Alli?

Fam: Yeah. So our first story is airing [Thursday], which I'm very, very excited about, and we will meet Vee Lewis. And short of getting COVID herself, a lot of the big ways in which this pandemic has uprooted life for people are things that she has experienced. She's lost loved ones. She herself was more at risk of catching COVID due to an autoimmune disease that she found out she had during the pandemic. Her sons are at home. She was navigating a pretty new job. But she's also the kind of person who's so, so, so driven to do the things that she loves, of which there are many. There's singing, there is her work as a union organizer, sewing. And so we're going to kind of hear from her about how she is renegotiating how she's going to do all these things that she loves to do as we transition away from the pandemic. And then with this project, we're aiming to, as you mentioned, feature six women. And we're going to be following stories from across the state. We'll hear about unemployment. We'll hear about immigration. We'll hear from someone who is getting a new business off the ground. So a lot of different types of stories.

Ganley: So we'll have the first story tomorrow. What are you hoping that listeners are going to take away from the series? What do you hope that they're going to learn, Alli?

Fam: Yeah, a few things. One, I'm definitely really hoping that these stories are going to resonate with our listeners and that folks will hear some of their own experiences or feelings reflected in these stories. And then simultaneously, I kind of also hope the opposite is true, where you hear something that is not something you experienced or not something you've seen. And you can kind of sit with that and you can recognize many of the different ways in which this pandemic has touched other folks in this state.

For many radio listeners throughout New Hampshire, Rick Ganley is the first voice they hear each weekday morning, bringing them up to speed on news developments overnight and starting their day off with the latest information.
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