Covid-19 Pandemic and Working Women - a New Report
Women in the Workplace
One in every four women in America considers quitting her job or downshifting her career. This is the data shown by the annual report "Women in the Workplace" by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org. The report also shows that mothers, Black women and women in senior leadership have been hit worst by the pandemic.
"The events of 2020 have turned workplaces upside down, - the report says. - Companies risk losing women at all levels of management—but they also have an opportunity to build a better workplace...
Two things are clear: Companies need to address the heightened challenges women are facing, and they need to better support Black women. If companies act now to build a more equal workplace, they can prevent millions of women from leaving their jobs or downshifting their careers. If companies can rise to the challenges the Covid-19 crisis has thrown into high relief, we may be laying the foundation for a more flexible and empathetic workplace for everyone."
Being a Woman in a Pandemic World
Here are a few excerpts from the report that will help us see the broader picture...
"Working mothers have always worked a "double shift"— a full day of work, followed by hours spent caring for children and doing household labor. Now the supports that made this even possible for women—including school and childcare—have been upended.
Meanwhile, Black women already face more barriers to advancement than most other employees. Today they're also coping with the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the Black community. And the emotional toll of repeated instances of racial violence falls heavily on them.
As a result of these dynamics, 1 in 4 women are contemplating what many would have considered unthinkable less than a year ago: downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce."
Work-time During Quarantine-time
"The Covid-19 crisis has been extremely difficult for employees… Many employees feel like they need to be "always on"—available for work at all hours of the day. And a significant number of employees are worried about layoffs, furloughs, and financial insecurity. Taken together, these challenges paint a picture of a workforce that is dealing with unsustainable pressure and anxiety... .
Decades of research show that women do significantly more housework and childcare than men—so much so that women who are employed full-time are often said to be working a "double shift." During Covid-19, women—and mothers in particular—are taking on an even heavier load.
Mothers are more than three times as likely as fathers to be responsible for most of the housework and caregiving. In fact, they're 1.5 times more likely than fathers to be spending an extra three or more hours a day on housework and childcare—equivalent to 20 hours a week, or half a full-time job. Meanwhile, for the 1 in 5 mothers who don't live with a spouse or partner, the challenges are even greater.
Single mothers are much more likely than other parents to do all the housework and childcare in their household, and they are also more likely than mothers overall to say that financial insecurity is one of their top concerns during the pandemic…
For women with disabilities, doing their jobs amid the pandemic is particularly hard. They are less likely to report getting the flexibility they need at work during the pandemic, and they are more likely to feel excluded, in the dark, and uninformed…
Senior-level women are under the same pressure to perform as senior-level men—and then some. Women are often held to higher performance standards than men, and they may be more likely to take the blame for failure… Not surprisingly, senior-level women are... 1.5 times more likely than senior-level men to think about downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce because of Covid-19. Almost 3 in 4 cite burnout as a main reason.
The possibility of losing so many senior-level women is alarming… Research shows that when women are well represented at the top, companies are 50 percent more likely to outperform their peers…
At a Crossroad
"Companies risk losing women in leadership—and future women leaders—and unwinding years of painstaking progress toward gender diversity. This crisis also represents an opportunity. If companies make significant investments in building a more flexible and empathetic workplace—and there are signs that this is starting to happen—they can retain the employees most impacted by today's crises and create more opportunities for women to succeed in the long term. Corporate America is at a crossroads. The choices that companies make today will have consequences both for their organizations and society for decades to come."