Katty Kay on why this quarantine may give women 'a bit more power at work and at home'

The BBC presenter and MSNBC contributor chats with Mika Brzezinski about her life during COVID-19, her concerns when the economy opens back up and the interesting gender dynamic that’s taking place in many households across the country.
"Morning Joe" co-host and Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski, left with BBC presenter and MSNBC contributor Katty Kay, right.
"Morning Joe" co-host and Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski, left with BBC presenter and MSNBC contributor Katty Kay, right.Miller Hawkins

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By Know Your Value staff

Katty Kay is finding the silver linings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The BBC presenter and MSNBC contributor, who is in quarantining in Washington D.C. with her husband and three of their four children, said the quality time she has been able to spend with her family has been a blessing.

And in terms of the bigger picture, she said the health crisis has forced the U.S. to look inward and become more humbled, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Still, she has concerns, especially when it comes to the world’s economies opening back up again. Katty recently chatted with Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski about those worries, what her life has been like during COVID-19 and the interesting gender dynamic that’s taking place in many households across the country. Take a look:

Mika: Where are you living, and do you have your family with you? How is everybody doing, and how are they handling isolation and quarantining? How are you able to take care of your family?

Katty: I’m at home in Washington D.C. and feel super lucky because we have three of our four kids with us. During the day, we all do our separate work, online school and college and then every evening we have supper together.

We have a color coordinated chore [chart] for cooking, disinfecting and dog walking! Being together and hanging out is the silver lining in all this. At least it is for me. I think the kids are getting a bit down. It’s been three weeks now of not seeing friends and that’s rough. It’s dawning on them that this is going on for at least another three weeks, and I think that’s making them frustrated. It’s tougher on the kids than on us - we can put two months, or four months or even a year of lock down into perspective. For them, it’s an age and so much they are missing out on.

Mika: Who are you most worried about when the British and American economies opens again? Personally, I am worried that people who have been let go will not be hired back.

Katty: You’re right, when we do open up, I don’t think jobs are roaring back, which means all those people who’ve lost jobs won’t be getting a paycheck anytime soon. That’s terrifying. And I’m worried about people in their 20s just starting out. I remember after [the] 2008 [recession], there was a lot of youth unemployment. It’s really depressing and demotivating for them.

Mika: As a journalist, what are you hearing about the struggle women face as they are homeschooling their children and trying to hold onto their jobs?

Katty: There’s such an interesting gender side to all this. Some women I’ve spoken to feel their husbands finally realize how much they do at home, and it’s been a good wake up call for dads. Others worry their husbands’ jobs will take priority if that’s where the stable income is. So many women are in “essential” jobs in health care in the front line of this. I hope this forced social experiment gives them a bit more power at work and at home.

Mika: What did you take for granted before the pandemic?

Katty: Being able to jump on a plane and visit my parents. That’s the hardest thing for me. You know that 3 a.m. panic loop? Well, that’s mine. My parents are in their 80s and live in Cyprus. Even if it was safe for me to go there and be with them, Cyprus has shut its borders to foreigners. I hate the feeling that I can’t get there. That’s the first flight I’m taking, when it’s safe to do so.