As the effects of the pandemic intensify gender inequality, further threaten the economy, and raise hurdles for the health industry, companies’ actions now could see them through the crisis.
In the sixth year of our Women in the Workplace study, conducted in partnership with LeanIn.Org, we find that the effects of the COVID-19 crisis have exacerbated gender disparities and their implications for women at work, especially for mothers, female senior leaders, and Black women across America. In addition to being laid off and furloughed at higher rates than their male counterparts during the pandemic, women are—notably, for the first time in our research on the topic—considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce altogether at staggering rates.
The exodus might include as many as two million women. That would raise a significant barrier to achieving gender parity in leadership roles in years to come. People are thinking about leaving the workforce for a variety of reasons (exhibit). While many organizations are providing additional resources related to remote working and employee well-being, there is more to be done to meet employees’ needs for sustainable, flexible, and empathic work environments, especially for parents and caregivers.