WOMEN, THE PANDEMIC AND THE WORK PLACE: THE SAD TRUTH

Most blog posts, news and articles we read this year have lines like, “it has been a tough year so far”. Year 2020 is undeniably wild and demanding among others, and of course women are leaving the work place due to the pandemic. Some time around August, some of us thought by December we will witness some improved changes as far as COVID-19 is concerned. And now, few days away from 2021, governments and health experts are talking of a second wave of COVID-19 and lock down. It is so obvious that many people are affected during these demanding times, but something so heartbreaking is how women around the world are leaving the work place due to the pandemic.
According to the CHIEF survey in the US, “30% of women say the pandemic is knocking them off their professional career course, while 24% are planning on leaving their companies sooner due to the company’s response to the pandemic.”
A report by the United Nations reveals that “nearly 60% of women around the world work in insecure, informal employment, earn on average 16% less than their male colleagues due to the gender wage gap and are 25% more likely to live in poverty when compared to men”. This is simply saying women on average compared to men, earn less, save less and have less secure jobs when compared to men.

One of the main reasons why women are leaving their work place during this pandemic is personal and family obligations, gespecially children as most day care centers are closed and accessibility to a house help is limited. A Latina mother with two children under the age of 4 expressed frustrations about balancing her work and her motherhood obligations due to the pandemic. She said this in the recent Women in the Workplace Report on the impact of the COVID- 19 by LearnIn.org  and consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

“The biggest challenge is meetings. I need to be available for meetings at core business hours, and it’s very difficult to focus when my kids are in my room”.

In relation to the same report, in a publication by ABC news with Lareina Yee, McKinney’s chief diversity and inclusion officer said “the toll on working moms is very real”, noting that working moms are reporting an additional 20 hours of responsibilities at home during the pandemic related to child care and more on top of their traditional 40- hours work week”.

WOMEN ARE LEAVING THEIR WORK PLACES, THEN WHAT?

According to CHIEF, a private network in the US driving more women into power reveals that women who remain in the work place are at an increased risk of burning out as they take up more responsibilities on to the already existing ones.
This shows clearly that more women who leave the workplace or stay are affected greatly in one way or the other. Nevertheless, there is one proven solution to this problem – Entrepreneurship.
Women should start to consider starting a business no matter how small it might be, it might be challenging but we have seen how entrepreneurs have managed to survive in these trying times.
In additions to financial independence, entrepreneurship helps in building an individual’s career in the right direction especially for women who are more vulnerable to insecure jobs, low wages and discrimination at the work place. This path of career helps one to be more flexible with working hours, more fulfilled, give women more control as they run and manage their own businesses and most of the time rapid advancement compared to them working in the corporate world.

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