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2021 Women in the Workplace Report





The annual report on Women in the Workplace is out! This study, running since 2015, known for coining the terms "leaky pipeline" and "broken rung", captures the state of women in the world of work. Its signature diagram marks the disparities in gender equity in the workplace as one progresses from an individual contributor to senior roles. A disparity that is largest for women of color.

New data from the 2021 Women in the Workplace report shows that female leaders are doing more than their male counterparts (those at peer levels) to support their teams, balance workloads, provide emotional support, champion diversity, equity and inclusion work, promote employee well-being, and act as allies to women of color... in addition to their jobs responsibilities. The expanded workload is largely unrecognized and unrewarded. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted. Women are in essence giving to their companies, and hence our GDP with no remuneration.


All of us moms that opted-out, as well as many of those in the workplace, are familiar with the imbalance of unpaid labor within the home and the need to share the load more equally. The pandemic has amplified the disparity of responsibilities that women carry both at home and at work. The documentation of this disparity is the news.


The cost of burnout for women in the workplace


This superwoman performance has come at the cost of greater burnout. The 7th annual report, the collaboration between Lean In and McKinsey & Company, shows that the gap between women and men consistently burned out has doubled in the past year with 42% of women "often" or "almost always" burned out. McKinsey reports that in dual-career couples, since the pandemic women are twice as likely to spend more than five hours per day on home chores. And the burden for caregiving falls disproportionately to women as well.


As a result, one in three women has considered downshifting their careers or leaving altogether. Nearly 3 million have dropped out of the workforce in the past year according to CBS News Moneywatch. The impact to the US economy is a loss of over $650 billion and $1 trillion globally. In an interview with McKinsey, Dr. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a political scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, author and mother of 2, noted that “traditionally, recessions hit men the hardest, but this was the first shecession—where we saw this proportion of impact on women. Men are gaining employment, from the latest job numbers—not a whole bunch, but they’re gaining—while we’re losing.” As for how long this costly impact will last, Dr. DeFrancesco Soto predicts “this is going to have long-term implications... a decade or two.” 3 million women leaving today means a loss of talent in the pipeline for women in senior roles - thus the leaky pipeline will worsen.


What is the solution?


Woman in the Workplace 2021 calls on companies to advance diversity and inclusion, embrace flexibility and set boundaries so employees are not on 24/7. Untapped Potential has been working to address gender equity and return women to work in meaningful roles since 2015. UP offers Flexreturn™ Services that fuses forward-thinking companies with top female talent. The method of return works to position highly qualified women to increase that pipeline for future leadership.


10th Return-to-Work Week for Women

In addition to the Flexreturn™ Services, twice a year Untapped Potential hosts an event to bring forward-thinking business and top female talent together. This signature Event connects candidates with companies offering curated roles which value the women's skills and the caregiving they have invested in their families. The program allows women to control their level of commitment against defined deliverables.


Join us for the week of opportunity October 4-8th. During the kick-off, participants learn more about the return-to-work movement, trends in growth industries and the value of working with this valuable demographic.



There is still time for candidates and clients to join. Candidates can apply here. Companies wanting to advance their business and return women to work can register here.

For more insights on the Women in the Workplace 2021 report, view the video Wall Street Journal interview with LeanIn.Org's CEO Rachel Thomas and McKinsey's Senior Partner Laerina Yee.


13 Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey, What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know (New York: NYU Press, 2014).







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