COVID-19 may be the worst experience of your lifetime! That is not lost on me, my business has been turned upside down and we are shattered to be unable to interact with our family as we normally would. I am grateful that my husband and I have each other in our home, we haven’t driven each other crazy — yet! In my business I have talked with women who live alone who have found it to be painful beyond words. We look at our own adult children trying to work, cope with fears of the disease, economics, and now homeschooling their children, it’s so overwhelming. My clients are struggling, too, with the same issues.
As you know, my mission in life is to enable women to reach their potential in the workplace and unlearn gender behaviors that put them at a disadvantage in the workplace. Though equity in the workplace is an ongoing challenge, women have been making strides, then COVID hit. Hit like a Tsunami!
Women have always had at least two jobs, the one in the workplace and the one at home. Females have consistently done most of the housework, childcare, and eldercare. Even with a spouse that contributes a great deal, women still have a disproportionate share of work at home. NOW with the virus, mothers are spending more hours a week on housework and childcare. Boston Consulting Group found women are spending 15 more hours a week on domestic labor during the pandemic than men. Catalyst, a nonprofit focused on helping companies better serve women, report women are twice as likely than men to be responsible for homeschooling. I know many of my clients, friends and family members are at their breaking point. Heaven help the women who are healthcare workers or are teachers. Perhaps YOU are at your breaking point! As a result, many women who are not sole supporters of their families or themselves, are considering leaving the workplace.
Before you make the decision to leave, please slow down and consider the long-term ramifications. In her article for CNBC, Courtney Connley reported, “1 in 4 women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce due to the coronavirus.” An entire generation of women may never fully recover in economics or in career trajectory.
Author Stephanie M.H. Moore, PhD., who is a Lecturer of Business Law and Ethics at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business suggests steps companies can take to prevent their female employees from leaving.
- Survey your female employees and find out what they need
- Give flexibility of remote work and avoid scheduling meetings during peak drop-off and pickup times for children for both fathers and mothers
- Record meetings for those that can’t attend
- Assist with subsidies for childcare
- During the pandemic consider adjusting unrealistic productivity expectations
Remember, there is strength in numbers. If you have employee resource groups within your company, harness the power of those numbers to make these and other recommendations to management. Companies need their best and brightest women to thrive and stay. These recommendations are just the beginning, start brainstorming and get the support you need.
Don’t miss Kay’s Corner for what YOU can do personally to avoid opting out and negatively effecting your career permanently. If you need additional help in maximizing your career, please call me at (513) 561-4288 or email me at Kay@highheeledsuccess.com.