Ways to get more women back to the workplace after the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has created countless challenges in the workplace, but women in business have faced the most – and apparently the highest – obstacles.
For many women, the global pandemic has left no choice but to take time away from work to deal with new family obligations like educating their children at home and caring for young people who may have spent their days in daycare. or at school before the COVID-19 outbreak. .
We have already seen a disproportionate number of female employees leaving the workforce due to the effects of COVID-19, and the trend is expected to continue. Researchers from the National Women’s Law Center estimate that more than 2.3 million women have left the workforce since February 2020, bringing women’s participation rates to the lowest levels the country has seen since 1988.
READ ALSO: Arizona’s Most Influential Women in Business for 2021
In the first month of 2021 alone, women accounted for 80% of job losses in the United States – further evidence of a recession that specifically hits women, erasing decades of work to close the gap between women. sexes. A new term – “shecession” – has been coined to describe this cataclysmic change in the workplace and the workforce.
The implications of the global health crisis are far-reaching and could lead to a perpetuation and widening of the gender pay gap, as well as a lack of employment and advancement opportunities for women in the years to come. to come up. It could also perpetuate the stereotype that mothers are unreliable employees due to their obligations to child rearing.
Now is the time for policymakers, business owners and employers to determine how they will respond to the fact that more than ever before, female employees are called upon to cover family and work obligations at the same time.
According to Joshua Black, managing attorney at Joshua Black’s law firm, here are some ways to make the workplace more family-friendly:
• Review medical and other leave policies to ensure they are gender neutral and accessible to all employees. For example, employers can consult their manuals to look for outdated language, such as “maternity leave”, choosing to update such a policy to “parental leave”. This language change encourages a well-balanced workforce and embraces the idea that male employees can also take time off to care for their families.
• Provide paid time off and paid sick days to help employees care for family members.
• Be aware that illness, such as COVID-19, affects every employee differently. Employers should consider an employee’s individual situation when considering granting time off or workplace accommodations.
• Help make child care more accessible and affordable for employees.
• Work to standardize employees taking parental leave when appropriate. Many employees – both men and women – say they fear parental leave will negatively impact how they are viewed in the workplace and limit opportunities for growth / promotion.
• Be open to flexible working arrangements that allow working parents to have a career while raising their families.
With azbigmedia.com shining the spotlight on the business of Arizona’s most influential women for 2021 this month, here are tips from the most influential former women on what business leaders can do to create more. opportunities for women in the workplace.
Elizabeth Shabaker, CEO, Versant Capital Management, (Class of 2018 Arizona’s Most Powerful Women): “We need more women in the financial industry and in leadership. We talked about it a lot but not enough action. It won’t happen by simply giving advice to women on how to get ahead in business. It is up to businessmen and their organizations to consciously include women in their ranks and in leadership positions. Propelling women into new roles requires plans that involve the engagement of both men and women. It means creating a workplace where women are included in all departments and with access to programs that amplify the capacities of those with the aspirations and ambition to excel in their field.
Kim Dees, Senior Vice President and Director of Southern Arizona Retail Division, WaFd Bank (Arizona Most Powerful Women 2020 Rank):: A career in banking is more than processing a transaction for a client. The banking industry is multi-faceted and skills in technology, public administration, sales and customer service are essential for success in the industry. I encourage women entering the banking industry to aim to learn something new every day and constantly prepare for the next job opening or promotion. Mentors will provide advice and focus on your success. As leaders, it is our privilege and honor to help our team reach the next career level.
Jodi R. Bohr, Shareholder, Tiffany & Bosco (2019 Arizona Most Powerful Women Class): “The support and flexibility of mentoring is essential. A formal mentoring program offers women the opportunity to ask questions without judgment. This support creates bonds that last. Additionally, flexibility (where possible) takes some of the pressure women feel when balancing work and family needs. The past year has proven that we can do this with a little flexibility. It’s good not to be flexible at times. But when the work can be done outside of regular business hours, so be it. A woman who feels she can be there for her family when needed and who is not under unnecessary strain will shine and stay to climb the ranks.
Lisa Davey, Vice President and Director, Northeast Arizona Division, WaFd Bank Arizona (2018 Arizona Most Powerful Women Rank): “As a leader at WaFd Bank, I have the opportunity to give back, cultivate new relationships, learn and grow alongside many other women leaders. In my role, I aim to provide young women with opportunities to thrive within our bank by recognizing and utilizing the best talent among us. Our partnership with Metro High School introduced me to many talented young women who have completed the WaFd Bank sponsored EVERFi program and who have excelled in banking and finance courses. I encourage these young professionals to lead by example and share their passion for their careers with the community through volunteerism and mentoring.
Angela Olea, RN, CEO, Assisted Living Locators (Arizona’s Most Influential Women Class of 2019): “COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women in the workforce who have faced a double crisis of job loss and overwhelming increases in healthcare demands due to school closures and collapse support networks for their aging parents. It has created an unbearable dynamic. As we prepare for post-pandemic life, I believe offering part-time flexibility, remote working environments, salary supplements, and increased funding for child care and personal assistance. older people will ultimately be the key to empowering women to improve their working lives. balance and return to the labor market.