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COVID-19 Takes a Toll on Women's Careers

McKinsey and Co. has released the results of a national survey on career intentions in light of the global pandemic. Women have taken a disproportionately large percentage of pandemic related job losses with 54% of the initial job losses. Many of the lower income services and retail jobs are filled by women and these jobs have been hard hit by the virus. Nearly 20% of the women with children are considering leaving their jobs compared with only 11% of men. In addition, another 15% of mothers report a desire to scale back their career commitment by limiting work hours or finding a less demanding career. The burden has been particularly hard for parents of young children with nearly 25% considering a leave or dropping out of the workforce. Businesses thrive on diversity and a reduction in representation of women at all levels of the organization would rightly be considered a setback. Diversity is directly correlated with innovation and improved financial performance. In addition, laws mandate the active hiring of diversity including: Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

As more women work from home due to the pandemic, studies have shown that they tend to take on a disproportionate amount of responsibility. In fact, 40% of working mothers in dual-career families take on three or more hours per day than fathers working on home and family responsibilities. Over half of these mothers expressed their responsibility for all or most of the work at home. With companies recognizing that some employees can effectively work from home, this could open up new remote opportunities for women. However, the concern is that nearly 40% of women cannot complete their jobs from home due to the retail, health-care or service nature of their work.


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