Revealing the Covid-19 pandemic’s disproportionate and devastating impact on women workers, a new survey shows that around half of the women workforce is less optimistic about their career prospects after the pandemic.
According to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte Global among 5,000 working women across 10 countries, increased responsibilities at home and at work along with the lack of adequate support from their employers have severely affected women. Nearly 80% of those surveyed in the report ‘Women @ Work: A Global Outlook’ indicated their workload has increased as a result of the pandemic.
The survey further shows that 66% of women report having the greatest responsibilities for home tasks. More than half of the women with children say they handle the bulk of the childcare work. Besides, 79% of women who care for dependents other than children have the greatest responsibility for domestic tasks at home.
The rise in responsibilities is taking a toll on the physical health, mental wellbeing, and career ambitions of women, the survey said. The survey shows that only one third of women consider their mental wellbeing to be "good" or "extremely good” at present, compared to 68% before the pandemic. This is a key factor for women workers as 29% of them said poor mental health was a major contributor to their careers not progressing as fast as they wanted.
The pandemic and unsatisfactory responses of employers to the pressures faced by women are forcing many women employees to make difficult decisions about whether to find another job or even leave the workforce altogether, the report says. Only 22% of women indicate that their employers have helped them establish clear boundaries between work and personal time. In contrast, 63% feel that their employers assess them based on the amount of time they spend online than the work quality, which pressurises them to spend more time at work.
Another driving force behind women having to make such decisions about leaving jobs is non-inclusive work culture where they face a range of issues from disparaging remarks about their gender to their judgement being questioned. As much as 52% of the women have experienced some form of harassment or microaggression in the past year.
The situation is worse of women of colour and queer folks.While women of colour are more likely to experience comments about their communication style, LGBT+ women were almost four times more likely than other women to experience jokes of a sexual nature, according to the survey. Only 35% of LGBT+ women said their employer have adequately supported them since the pandemic began, in comparison to 44% of non-LGBT+ women who felt the same.
Due to such conditions, 57% of all women surveyed indicated that they plan on leaving their jobs in two or fewer years, with the lack of balance between work and personal being a top reason behind the decision. Moreover, nearly a quarter of the women surveyed said they were considering leaving the workforce.
Michele Parmelee, Deloitte Global Deputy CEO and Chief People & Purpose Officer, commented on the way forward from this situation saying, “Our survey respondents are clear about what needs to be done to reverse the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on working women. As organisations look to rebuild their workplaces, those that prioritise diversity, equity, and inclusion in their policies and culture and provide tangible support for the women in their workforces will be more resilient against future disruptions. Additionally, they will lay the groundwork needed to propel women and gender equity forward in the workplace.”