- Job losses during COVID are 1.8 times higher for women
- Just 7.4% of Fortune 500 company leaders are female
- Greater gender diversity leads to increased business earnings
Despite making up half of the world’s population, the battle for women in leadership roles is still ongoing. There are more women in roles of power today than ever before, and the plight of women in leadership has been moving in the right direction. We are looking into how women handled the Coronavirus pandemic and the struggles of 2020, and what that could mean for women in leadership in 2021.
There are record numbers of women running Fortune 500 companies, yet the total of these women is still only 37. That makes just 7.4% of the people running America’s largest companies female. The Women in the Workplace report for 2020 revealed that for every 100 men that are promoted to management, only 85 women are promoted. So why is progress for women in leadership so slow, and what can be expected for women in positions of power in 2021?
Women In Leadership And The Coronavirus Pandemic
COVID-19 has introduced many new challenges for workplaces, with a large number of workers struggling to work in this new world. Boundaries between work life and home life have been blurred as employees are forced to work from home, and many teams feel a need to be ‘always on’.
Women have been impacted more negatively by the Coronavirus pandemic in terms of work and employment than their male counterparts. It is estimated that job losses for women due to COVID-19 are roughly 1.8 times higher than that of men. One of the reasons behind this discrepancy is that men and women tend to work in varying occupations.
Women are more likely to work within the industries that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, such as food service, accommodation and retail. During September, 1.1 million people left the workforce, and of this, a huge 865,000 of them were women.
The Coronavirus pandemic has increased the challenges that women in the workplace were already facing. Working women with children were already having to handle a full day at work and hours of childcare and housework. The various supports they had in place to help with this, such as childcare and school, were taken away during the lockdown months of 2020.
A vast amount of the workforce has been forced to work from home and juggle their home life balance, but for women, these struggles were intensified. Because of these challenges, more than 25% of women are contemplating downshifting their careers or altogether leaving the workforce. This is a considerable risk for women in leadership and could undo many years of progress to gender diversity.
The Expectations Of Women In Leadership In 2021
The big question is, how will the struggles of 2020 impact the female representation in leadership roles in the future? Women in senior–level positions are 1.5 times more likely than men to downshift their careers. Nearly three in four of these women say that burnout would be the main reason behind this downshift, and increased caregiving duties play a huge part.
With female–dominated industries being the hardest hit over the last few months, and usual support systems being taken away, it is clear that women in leadership are facing a difficult road to recovery. Despite prior to 2020 there being some excellent steps towards gender equality in positions of power, and more and more companies putting women in leadership roles, it seems the COVID-19 pandemic has forced women to take a step back.
It is difficult to predict how women in leadership will fair in a post-COVID world. Still, those that have exited the labour force this year will most likely be impacted both financially and professionally for the rest of their lives.
Women In Leadership Are More Important Than Ever
Despite the setbacks and challenges that women in management roles have faced this year, having women in power is more important now than ever. In a male–dominated world, many women don’t realise how poised they could be for success in leadership roles. In actual fact, women have many natural traits and qualities that make for great leaders;
Women Value Work–Life Balance
Women are often better able to balance their professional and personal lives, usually because they truly value this balance. There is a greater understanding of the importance of spending enough time and energy at home with family, as well as at work. It can be easier to approach women in leadership with sensitive questions or personal requests because they can be more understanding. It is a natural instinct for women to care about their team and their wellbeing.
Women Have An Impact On The Bottom Line
It isn’t just about how women handle their teams in positions of leadership, but the impact they can have on revenue. A report from McKinsey revealed that senior executive teams with greater gender diversity have increased earnings. In fact, for every 10% increase in gender diversity, earnings rise by roughly 3.5%.
Women Have High Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is about being able to recognise emotions in others and relate to them. It has recently gained a lot of momentum as being a vital skill for those in leadership positions. Research suggests that emotional intelligence is usually more prevalent in woman, and it can help them to get the best out of their employees.
Putting The Spotlight On Women In Leadership
More needs to be done to help encourage and support women in leadership. It is important that we make changes to the stereotypes that the world has of each gender so that women are given the opportunities to truly thrive in management positions.
While 2020 has been a challenging year for women in leadership, there have been some huge success stories for female leaders. Consequently, in 2021, changes need to be made to continue working towards gender diversity. Companies need to consider women on their skillsets and experience when it comes to senior promotions, and more compassion and understanding needs to be given to women following the Coronavirus pandemic.
Many companies still do not see gender diversity as a priority, and there is still a very persistent gap for women in senior roles. However, with greater engagement and a significant positive impact on the bottom line of the business, promoting women in leadership could set your business up for success in 2021.