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Although times have changed a lot, we still often get to read about the obstacles women face in the workforce. But this time let’s see over the past two years- the COVID19 pandemic era, how lives of women in the workforce faced this change. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted women as they struggle to balance their careers and personal lives. Sadly, the barriers to women’s economic security were heightened during the crisis. Gender, race, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequities have also been amplified. And economic insecurity goes beyond jobs and loss of income — its impact has a lasting toll on women and prevent gender equity advancement. During the financial crisis back in 2008, men were more at risk of losing their jobs, as the industries impacted (automotive, financial, etc.) are more male-dominated. This time, however, the crisis has impacted industries in which women are overrepresented—food service, retail, and entertainment were hit hardest. It’s estimated that 40% of all employed women or 510 million women globally worked in these hard-hit sectors. Within these sectors, workers are already subjected to lower pay and lack of benefits such as healthcare. With quarantine measures in place, families had to home school and care for their children. With school and daycare closures, the result has been additional work for women at home. For women with full-time jobs, this means adding hours of work to their already busy schedules. It was also reported that women-led companies were receiving less funding in 2020. Men are more likely to get larger funding rounds partially due to being older and more established. As a result, women are set further back from catching up with their male counterparts in the corporate world. What other obstacles were women already facing in the workforce?

Issues Fueling Gender Inequality in the Workplace

Women are severely underrepresented in business and leadership positions. Unfortunately, even in the 21st century, women continue to face discrimination in the workplace. These challenges are magnified in the corporate world, where women face an abundance of obstacles that make it harder for them to thrive. Here are four gender-specific barriers that some women already face in the workforce:
  • Pro-male bias: Men are often overvalued compared to women in terms of work performance, which can be a problem when it comes to promoting or filling new positions.
  • Unequal pay: Men, on average, are paid significantly more than women for the same work.
  • Family obligations: Employers tend to favor men over women when getting a raise or a promotion. In fact, many studies have shown that the pushback women experience when they have kids is the strongest gender bias out there.
  • Sexism: Sexism is still an obstacle to gender balance in the workplace, particularly in male-dominated industries.
Women are now about as likely as men to be in the workforce but are still paid less for equal work. In the years since the recession, more women than men have entered the workforce, a trend that has been noted in the press and by feminist organizations. In fact, women in the US have become more economically secure over the years on average. Despite this progress, women still earn less than men in almost every occupation. The wage gap is also due to women’s greater likelihood of taking time out of the workforce, which is something that has only been intensified during the pandemic. Women have been fighting the good fight in the workforce for years, and sometimes it feels like the war is never-ending. It is hard enough to be a woman in today’s society; to have to battle a health crisis is a difficult challenge that sets back years of progress. Even more difficult is the mental toll that all of this can take. So what can be done? How can women fight back?

Mentorship Programs and Hiring

In today’s workforce, it is critical that organizations do everything in their power to ensure diversity in their ranks. Studies have shown that diversity in the workplace leads to a more productive and innovative workforce and a more innovative organization. This is true because there are unique strengths and perspectives brought to the table by individuals from different backgrounds. One such barrier to diversity is the gender gap that persists in the workforce. Women still face a glass ceiling when it comes to getting promoted into management roles. It is time to close this gap, and the first step is to hire more women in the future. That is a big issue that affects both the bottom and top lines of a company. Women are still a minority in specific industries, including the tech industry. As a result, many women feel isolated, without anyone to turn to for help, and even more so when they are starting their careers. Mentoring programs help young women get the support they need to succeed. In fact, hiring and mentoring women should be the highest priority for organizations. Mentoring can be a powerful way for women to get the support and expertise they need to advance in their careers, and the results can be very rewarding for both the mentee and the mentor. Mentoring is a great way to encourage the development of leadership skills and knowledge and can be a powerful educational experience as well. It is about sharing knowledge, building relationships, and providing feedback and support. Mentoring can be done with peers, subordinates, and supervisors. The main idea behind mentoring is that it is beneficial to both the mentor and the one being mentored. Many studies have been conducted on the positive effect mentoring can have on leadership development, job performance, and other personal and professional outcomes. Many organizations have a problem with gender disparity in their current workforce. Not only are there fewer women in senior management, but women in those roles are less likely to mentor junior female staff than their male peers are. We at emergiTEL have a solution: hire more women. It’s a simple concept, but one that needs to be at the heart of any organization with gender disparity and the ability to hire and mentor junior staff. For assistance with recruiting women in tech, contact emergiTEL.