How to advance women’s gender equality and empowerment in the post COVID-19 world

 


2020 was a tough year for all and amongst the other major consequences, it had a direct impact on employment and that of gender equality, in particular for women.

The following figures speak for themselves.

A McKinsey report “Women in the Workplace 2020: Progress toward gender equality” figures show that women still occupy only "21% of top management “C-Suite” roles: and that “one in three mothers have considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers because of Covid-19”. 1

The 2020 figures of female occupation of “C-Suite” roles were in progression from 2015 figures, however, given the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, these figures could see a sharp drop.

A Harvard Business Review “Don’t Let the Pandemic Set Back Gender Equality" figures show “Women make up 39% of global employment but account for 54% of overall job losses as of May 2020". 2

This 54% overall job loss represents all female working categories, but it may touch in particular those who are most in need of financial assistance during this difficult period.

Before COVID-19, gender equality statistics showed a slow but positive impact. Gender equality in relation to women should englobe a positive and engaged attitude by all humans to help, mentor, and award all women despite their origin or social class.

We do not often read or hear about the statistics of the contribution of males in a dual-career family, apart from in Scandinavian countries where there are government policies to positively promote and to put in place the means to support this. However, with the current crisis, which is now one year old, it is clear globally that it is still principally women who involuntarily had to put their work and career on hold or to juggle between “several daily “SHIFTS”:

Women are still disproportionately concerned by childcare and general family duties and employed in majority in hospitality sectors; mothers who are still working or who have been recently laid of, still carry out different “shifts” but these “SHIFTS” are more intense due to Covid-19:

-          an intense daily routine: family morning shift, professional work shift and family evening shift. This makes up a long day and long hours and if you add the extra charge of taking care of additional shopping, meals and homework tutoring as the family is at home, it means a 7X7 service.

Recently when I talk to women who are alone and who are in a precarious position because of losing their job due to Covid-19, I listen to their distress, that of not knowing what the future holds, if they can continue to provide for their family and who will be there to support them in times of need. I offer what advice I have to find solutions, but these solutions are more effective when “we are all aligned together on a larger scale".

Will the impact of this past year push the progess of women back to the old and traditional model of women staying at home and taking care of the children because the husband has a good job, he is the bread winner and he is reponsible for the finances of the family?

Over the years there have been positive changes in certain countries:  the old model has changed: women are working, have a career, are breadwinners, are motivated and have their independence and certain male partners are supporting them in this joint endeavor. Having an employment for women has its financial advantages, but it much more than financial, it is being independent, having equal opportunities for work and education, having a voice, and being listened to and considered as equal: gender equality.  

To bounce back quicky to the pre-Covid 19 progress and to support gender equality for women, as a society, we collectively need to engage in giving advice and direction.

Given our means and time, we can all help by:

Setting up a support network.

Being a good listener and sincere.

Offering advice and solutions/ mentoring

Speak up.

Show example.

I would also like to give a hand-up and support to the men who gave up their career and who support their partner's career.

The following is a link to an article published in 2018.

Gender Equality in Expat Assignments (thirdcultureprofessionals.com)

1 Women in the Workplace | McKinsey

2 Don’t Let the Pandemic Set Back Gender Equality (hbr.org)

Copyright © 2021  www.thirdcultureprofessionals.com. Certain Rights Reserved 

Photo Ketut Subiyanto : Pexels

 

 

 


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