Being a woman in the era of covid. It’s not for the faint of heart.
I recently heard an interview with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook CCO, who is ringing the alarm bells. This caught my attention. She was speaking about a study that was done around women in the workplace and how this year may set us back decades. 2020 has been fraught with unprecedented challenges, which has been super overwhelming and exhausting for all of us. And this is yet another issue. But in order to not lose the little progress we have made, awareness and action are needed. I read up on the study and the challenges currently facing women. Here’s a summary of what I found and how I plan on supporting other women.
The 2020 Women in the Workplace report has been done every year for the past six years with LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Co. It found that Covid-19 is disrupting the workplace in ways never seen before and is bringing about another crisis this year in corporate America. 1 in 4 women are considering scaling back their career or leaving the workforce all together. That’s more than ever before and it’s due to all the challenges women and moms are currently facing.
Slow but steady gains were being made for women in Corporate America before the pandemic. But now, women are facing new challenges like childcare and homeschooling responsibilities, as well as mental health and burnout. These challenges are taking a disproportionately heavy toll on working women. During Covid-19, childcare and housework have mostly fallen to mothers. Mothers are three times more likely to be responsible for most of the household labor. They are spending an additional 20 hours per week on childcare and housework, essentially working a double shift. The impact on single mothers is even greater. I’m not all together surprised by this, and though households are starting to break the mold from outdated gender roles, we clearly still have a long way to go.
The study also shows that Black women are shouldering even heavier burdens. The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the Black community along with the emotional toll from incidents of racist violence. Plus, Black women are more likely to be their family’s sole breadwinner and are twice as likely to be handling all childcare and housework. At work, they have always had worse experiences: promoted more slowly, underrepresented in senior leadership, biases and microaggressions, and less support overall.
All of this has me feeling great pride and pain for women and how hard we all work for only small gains. There’s a lot going on in the world right now and it’s easy to feel hopeless. I’m not saying we are plummeting towards oblivion with no safety net. However, I do believe we can and shouId do whatever is in our power to support other women. We women wield a lot of power – as Michelle Obama put it, "There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish."
"There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish."
Female empowerment is at the heart of who NadiaGirl is. We are a small brand, but as we grow, we’re committed to hiring capable women and particularly capable women of color. We will also continue to support causes that lift up girls and women. We all should support women-owned businesses by shopping with them and spreading the word when we discover great ones (a list of some of my favorites will be coming in the next blog post!). We should give support and encouragement to the women we know, and those we don’t. Whether women decide to stay in a corporate career, leave one to stay home, or even start their own business, we should support each other in any way we can. We can share our own experiences and knowledge to help mentor and guide others. If a woman reaches out for help or advice, help her and be an ally! Or in the words of poet, Adrienne Rich, “The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.”
We need to empower and support each other. It’s important now more than ever. Here’s to women empowering women. We can do this together.
“The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.”