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The Pandemic Has Been Especially Brutal for Women. How Can We Support Them?

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Someone recently alerted me to the fact that March 8 is International Women’s Day. Traditionally, the holiday recognizes and celebrates the achievements of women around the world—socially, economically, culturally and politically. This year, however, I believe the day takes on extra significance.

Three years into this global pandemic, women, in particular, are struggling. According to McKinsey’s “Women in the Workplace 2021” report, women are even more burned out now than they were a year ago, and burnout is escalating much faster among women than among men. In fact, a whopping one out of every three women said she’s considering downshifting her career or leaving the workforce this year, and 40% said they have considered leaving their company or switching jobs.

Why? Clearly, there are many factors at play. But a main one is that women are often the primary caregivers for those around them. In fact, the CDC found that two out of every three caregivers in the United States are women, providing regular support to children, adults or people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. This has become only more challenging in the past few years, with support systems falling away due to Covid restrictions and increasing pressure on women to handle it all, including the mental loads of their households, without any relief.

This got me thinking about how critically important flexibility, remote work access and hybrid workplaces are now. Allowing people to get their work done in the manner that is the most productive and efficient for them—whether that’s at home, at the office, in the morning, at night, five days a week, three days a week, or something in between—offers them some much-needed support, particularly for our community’s overburdened, burned-out, ever-striving women. It’s time we take care of the very people who take care of us. And it’s a win-win for everyone, since these policies have been shown to benefit employers, too.

What are some ways you support women in your workplace? What are some of your ideas for how we can lift up women?

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