International Women’s Day – The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Working Women

Women in the Business World are Facing Challenges from the Pandemic

Global inequalities have really been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are seeing groups being disproportionately affected with inequalities seen between different wealth classes, races, genders.

Women have been particularly hit hard by the pandemic with many saying their careers have been impacted negatively. Survey results by Deloitte revealed that nearly 70% of women who’ve experienced adverse changes to their daily routines believe these shifts have prevented or will prevent them from progressing.

McKinsey & Company calculated that Women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this Covid-19 pandemic than men’s jobs. With women making up 39% of global employment but accounting for as much as 54% of job losses, it shows the disproportionate responsibilities between men and women.

Working Mothers Face a “Double Shift” & the Risk of Losing Woman Leaders

The pandemic is causing schools to close which is having a significant effect on women. As women tend to still be the primary caretakers and take on the majority of household responsibilities, many women are doing so to the detriment of their careers.

Working mothers already face a “double-shift”, with a full day at work and then hours spent caring for children and doing household labour. In fact, McKinsey claims that mothers are three times more likely than fathers to be responsible for housework and caregiving during the pandemic. As education and childcare facilities have been closed due to the pandemic, some women have had to downshift their careers or even leave the workforce altogether.

As a result of Covid-19, corporations are at risk of losing women in leadership positions. This is significant as it has taken years of progress towards gender diversity and equality to reach current-day levels. Forbes reported that 54% of women in senior roles felt consistently exhausted and the increased burden is hurting professional women even more.

Links has invited 2 special guests to hold a webinar to discuss the challenges and opportunities working women are facing in the ‘new normal’. Sign up for our free webinar now!

How Can We Stop Losing Women Leadership?

We have been slowly moving towards the right direction, with Catalyst reporting that women’s representation in high-level jobs has increased. According to Catalyst, “Of the 2,765 MSCI ACWI Index companies, 20% of directors were women in 2019, up from 17.9% in 2018”. However, we are now at a crossroads where we can see a reverse in this positive trend if businesses don’t handle the situation with care.

Businesses need to explore options to stop the potential losses in women leadership to inequalities that have been intensified by the pandemic. The future of women’s representation in corporations could diminish if nothing is done by businesses. Studies show that senior-level women are also more likely to mentor and sponsor other women compared to senior-level men (38% vs 23%). Without mentorship, the number of female corporate leaders could decline in the future.

Organisations need to be more empathetic and flexible in dealing with the current situation if they want to keep on the current path of a more inclusive workplace that nurtures women leadership. Here’s what can be done:

Provide Flexibility

The struggle between work and home has been made worse by Covid-19. Businesses need to establish a better work-life balance for employees to relieve some of the pressures they are facing. Leaders need to offer and encourage employees to take advantage of flexible working policies. The stigma attached to taking advantage of flexible working is putting many employees off from working from home.

Team leaders must clearly state that they will be marked on results rather than where or when they work. This will give working mothers the opportunity to manage their time to match their other responsibilities while still delivering results.

Adjust Policies to Support Employees

Supporting employees through difficult times is key. Communicate with employees on their needs and how they would like to be supported. Ensure you have a tailored Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place that offers employees counselling, wellbeing checks, and parenting resources. Employers must consider whether their current programmes are doing enough to support employees and then adjust them.

Join Our Complimentary Webinar!

To raise awareness and discuss the gender biases that are affecting corporate women around the world, Links has invited two women leaders, Michelle Mak and Mary Sue Rogers to hold a webinar to talk about how women can grasp the opportunities that have arisen from the pandemic. Even though the pandemic has been difficult for women, female leaders still have the opportunity to leverage their strengths to empower themselves in the “new normal”.

Our panel will discuss topics including female empowerment, opportunities for women in the pandemic, the disproportion of women and men in high-level positions. Don’t miss this opportunity to listen to experts on the challenges women face and how we can change this to create a more inclusive world. Sign up now!

The impact of Covid-19 on working women. How gender biases are being exposed by the pandemic. Women are 1.8X more vulnerable is losing their jobs in the pandemic then men.

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