Covid has the entire globe in a headlock, choking everything. But Covid’s impact on moms, according to many new reports, is suffocating and threatens the wellbeing of women everywhere.
Let’s face it, being a mom is hard enough. And a working mom, even harder. And trying to work at home with kids who need help with school work and are practicing the trumpet in a virtual band class while you’re on a conference call? Impossible!
But when women find these pressures so great that they are forced to downsize their careers, then the stress multiplies as the economic pressures mount. As well as the resentment at partners who may not be altering their careers to take care of the kids and Gramdma.
Which is happening. Perhaps it’s not a surprise, but to think in this day and age, women are significantly choosing to downsize their career or leave the workforce entirely—at least one in three according to McKinsey.
For the sixth year, McKinsey & Co. in partnership with LeanIn.Org, have shared a Women in the Workplace study which tracks the progress of women in corporate America. This year highlights the economic impact on moms during Covid.
Covid’s impact on moms is widespread
Child care is cited as a top challenge for moms with children under the age of 10 at about 76% compared to 54% of fathers with young children.
Other challenges include:
- lack of flexibility;
- feeling like they need to be available for work at all hours;
- worrying that their performance is being negatively judged because of caregiving responsibilities during this time;
- feeling like they can’t bring their whole selves to work.
- while judging themselves for not being perfect in all of this.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women of color have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Since February, the number of Hispanic women in the U.S. labor force has fallen nearly 7%, the number of Black women declined 5.6% while the number of white women fell nearly 3%.
The National Women’s Law Center estimates that nearly 2.2 million women have already left the workforce since the pandemic.
This “she-cession,” as dubbed by the New York Times, could further widen the gap of gender equality that has taken 30 years of progress to even get this far (and women are still not being paid as much as men).
Is the “broken rung” being even more broken?
Women already face obstacles in the workplace, commonly referred to as the “broken rung” that keeps women from climbing the corporate ladder.
For the sixth year in a row, women continued to lose ground at the first step up to manager.
For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted—and only 58 Black women and 71 Latinas were promoted.
As a result, the beginning of 2020, women held just 38 percent of manager-level positions, while men held 62 percent.
And even when women are in senior roles they are expected to perform the same as men or higher to prove they can do it…AND now also take care of the family during this pandemic. Is it a wonder why women decide they can’t do it all while still giving 100% to all?
For the past several years, I’ve seen the power of women-owned businesses making profits, making change and making a difference through WeTheChange a movement of Women leaders of B Corps and other purpose-driven businesses that I co-founded in 2018. At WeTheChange, we commit to economic, racial, environmental, and social justice and a world where women are equally represented in positions of power and influence. It is brutal to see us throw the equality car in reverse, and a decade of growth for women on the brink of reversal.
What can we do?
If women are already underrepresented in senior management positions and more women are leaving the workforce due to Covid, what will happen to the growth of women in business roles overall?
It’s up to us to champion for each other, here’s a few ways we can do that:
- Join us at WeTheChange — if our declaration of dedication to justice moves you
- Join or Create a mom’s group with your friends for emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual support. This is essential!
- Join the Ellevate network, dedicated to lifting up women professionals everywhere
- Join an online working moms group
- Join a women’s networking group
- Connect with women on LinkedIn and follow thought leaders like Arianna Huffington, Sheryl Sandberg, Shonda Rhimes, and Brené Brown
- Find a mentor
- Find a nanny-share service
It’s also important to take time for yourself, even unplug for a day. Sounds impossible, I know—but will make you a better mom and a better employee when you are able to set some time aside to restore your wellbeing. Remember, you don’t need to be supermom, and more importantly, you don’t need to do this alone!