Metro Detroit women share challenges they’ve faced throughout the COVID pandemic

Monday is International Women’s Day

Four women shared the challenges they’ve faced and their worries for other women amid the COVID pandemic as we mark International Women’s Day.
Four women shared the challenges they’ve faced and their worries for other women amid the COVID pandemic as we mark International Women’s Day.

DETROIT – Four women shared the challenges they’ve faced and their worries for other women amid the COVID pandemic as we mark International Women’s Day.

Local 4 brought four women together to speak about the impact of the pandemic, the challenges they faced and the determination they had to fix the problems COVID-19 magnified.

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The women all agree that change needs to happen so everyone fares better in the next crisis. Local 4 spoke with Nya Marshall, Kellie McFarlin and Tasha Lord and Mona Shand.

Marshall runs Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails and is the owner of Diomo Development. She has been fighting to keep her business alive during the pandemic and throughout that fight, she has focused on feeding others.

“Feeding the frontline, feeding the homeless, donating to food banks. We initially, we thought that you know, after a week or two this is definitely over -- and we’re going to -- everyone is just going to go back to normal and it’s going to be like it never happened. But here we are,” Marshall said.

Tasha Lord is an entertainer and manager who turned to help nonprofits during the pandemic.

“I thought, OK, how do I take care of myself and what kind of long-term plans do I need to make for myself that is going to take care of me and take care of what my new goals are going to need to be going forward,” Lord said.

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Mona Shand is the Livingston County Field Representative for Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. Slotkin is more motivated than ever to serve the public.

“All of a sudden it went from a lake of need to an ocean of need all around us,” Shand said. “There was just so much need -- people who needed help with their unemployment claims, food banks that needed help getting access to produce.”

McFarlin is a general surgeon with Henry Ford Hospital. She volunteered to be part of the Moderna vaccine trial.

“I’m a single mom and head of my household -- full-time surgeon, and it was like, OK, if things don’t get back to normal, or what we thought was normal, what is the plan?” McFarlin said. “It made me really are of -- If you didn’t have extra family help, resources to hire and more help -- What would I be able to do? That was a really scary thought.”

Marshall said that 38 percent of women have left the workforce.

“We knew there were cracks in our social safety net before the pandemic. You know, as far as child care, family leave, the pandemic shined a light -- and you know, exposed those cracks,” Shand said.

The women also spoke about loss. Marshall said she needed to do good so it’s just gloom she remembers from this time.

McFarlin lost a cousin to COVID-19. She signed up to participate in the Moderna vaccine trials.

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About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.