In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re taking a closer look at the role of women in the post-pandemic workplace, specifically with regard to driving progress for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Read on to learn more about the DEI contributions of women in leadership, how working women are coping with the pandemic, and the role of hybrid managers in supporting women in the new hybrid workplace.
DEI Efforts by Women in Leadership
During the heightened awareness of racism during the COVID, companies across the country have reprioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion as a key element in increasing employee well-being during a time of unprecedented stress.
According to 2021 Women in the Workplace report by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, women in leadership have been taking on a more active role in the DEI efforts of their companies compared to their male counterparts — and their work for the most part isn’t receiving the recognition or the pay that it deserves.
The study reports, “Senior-level women are twice as likely as senior-level men to spend substantial time on DEI work that falls outside their formal job responsibilities, such as recruiting employees from underrepresented groups and supporting employee resource groups. And women leaders are more likely to be allies to women of color. Compared to men in leadership, they are more likely to educate themselves about challenges women of color face at work, speak out against discrimination, and mentor or sponsor women of color.”
Burnout in Working Women
In addition to failing to be properly recognized or compensated for their DEI efforts, the report also shows that women were even more burned out than they were during the first year of the pandemic, and it’s escalating at a much faster rate among women compared to men: “In the past, 1 in 3 women has considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers—a significant increase from 1 in 4 in the first few months of the pandemic.”
In an interview with Forbes, Rachel Thomas, cofounder and CEO of LeanIn.Org, commented, “We’ve seen women being pushed out of the workforce during the pandemic, in large part due to increased caregiving responsibilities. When women help lead the charge on DEI work that contributes to the bottom line, but that isn’t formally recognized or compensated, companies may be at even greater risk of losing them.”
The Role of Hybrid Workplace Managers in Supporting Working Women
Hybrid workplace managers will play an important role in making sure their female employees are properly heard, recognized, and supported. The first step is being aware of the issues they’re facing. Read the study to familiarize yourself with the issues women in corporate America are facing. Hold one-on-ones regularly and in person if possible. Take steps to remove unconscious biases from your performance evaluations. And make sure to get support yourself from HR leaders, who will be an invaluable resource to you in your efforts to create a more equitable and inclusive environment for working women.