March is Gender Equality Month, and it’s hard to believe in the year 2022, we experience the level of gender inequality we do – not only in the workforce but in life in general. The Covid-19 pandemic has not helped bridge that gap by any means; in fact, it forced a significant setback. “Across the globe, women earn less, save less, hold less secure jobs, are more likely to be employed in the informal sector. They have less access to social protections and are the majority of single-parent households. Their capacity to absorb economic shocks is, therefore, less than that of men.” Read more in Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women.
Approximately 9.6 million people were furloughed or experienced job losses during the height of the pandemic, and women have been slower to return to the workforce for several reasons. The workload of childcare with school closures or with remote schooling has forced many women to adjust working arrangements or even sacrifice their careers to tend for and educate their children. Women traditionally earn less than men in similar roles, even in 2022, and when deciding who goes back to work in their field and who stays home with the kids, the choice for many households is an easy one. If the man is the breadwinner, to many families, it only makes sense that he is the one who goes back into the workforce while the women bear the burden of taking care of the household and unpaid care work. That, coupled with the stress of lockdowns, has also led to an increase in domestic violence across the globe. Even before the pandemic, 1 in 3 women faced some sort of domestic abuse in their household, and being in lockdown and in tight quarters with their abuser has not helped these numbers.
However, the pandemic has not been all bad when it comes to gender equality. Many employers have allowed remote working, revamped job descriptions, and allowed more flexibility with their employees. This has allowed men and women across the country to try and balance their hectic lives and teach their children inside their homes while getting their work done at the same time. With mandates across the country lessening, we are still seeing those opportunities to work remotely or have a hybrid schedule with flexible working options. Many employers have also realized that having everyone in the office at all times is not necessarily a good thing, and some have seen increased productivity from their labor force working remotely. The old “water cooler” conversations have decreased. Individuals who are now working from home, in some cases, have reported working more efficient hours — working nights and weekends when they traditionally didn’t have access to their systems or computers. And, many have experienced reductions with distractions versus being in the office. Not every job can be remote, but in situations where the opportunity is there, employers should look at the job functions and revamp their policies in many cases.
In 2022, as we are still getting over the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, our team at Goodwin Recruiting is working hard to bridge the gender gap that so prevalently exists. As a recruiting company, we have a unique opportunity to shift the paradigm with women’s employment — to present a variety of candidates to our clients and provide EEO guidance to help with their decision-making. We understand the gender differences that exist and are doing all we can in the short term and long term to positively impact these social norms for the well-being and equality of all.