While Untapped Potential's return-to-work demographic has been on the side-lines of the "workplace", our work centers around incentivizing companies to let them back in.
For our work to be successful, we often share how the workplace needs to change.
In 2020 the workplace has changed.
Since 2015, McKinsey & Company and Lean In have sponsored a study of Women in the Workplace. Each year we reflect on the strides women were making shared in the study. This year the study highlights the cross-roads for women with the 'as-is' culture of corporate America. The pandemic has brought workplace change none could have predicted.
We've wondered whether perhaps the sudden openness to work-from-home could be a positive for gender equality? Will it allowing stay-at-home moms to rejoin work more easily? Or, make work-life success more feasible so moms don't need to 'opt-out' in the 1st place? Better yet, could the experience with males and females both sent home due to Covid-19 make it more feasible for both parents to share-equally home and child-rearing responsibilities?
Our opt-outers each have a story of their "Why" or rather,"Why they opted out". For many, there is a particular impetus that caused their professional career to no longer be sustainable with raising a family. Whether it was their husband's big promotion to a new city, the inability to diagnose their child's illness, the care giver leaving the family in a lurch, their role transferred to a new city...It is often some concrete event that causes women (more often then men) to opt out. And when they do, they feel they no longer live up to societies dual expectations (achieving a high level in their professional career and being 'wonder Mom' or simply the parent).
Women In The Workplace 2020 we glean that many (800,000 or so estimate from separate source) will point to COVID-19 as the point in time when many women will point to as the 'impetus' that pushed them over the edge.
The sentiment highlighted by one in the study is similar, "I feel like I am failing at everything. I’m failing at work. I’m failing at my duties as a mom. I’m failing in every single way, because I think what we’re being asked to do is nearly impossible." WHITE WOMAN, TWO CHILDREN (AGES 7 AND 11), VP
Men however, are not expressing these multiple burdens.
The study shares that Women, Women of Color and Single Mom's are all carrying the stress of the pandemic more than men. "The pandemic has highlighted how disproportionately things fall on women.”ASIAN AMERICAN WOMAN, THREE CHILDREN (UNDER AGE 5), MANAGER
With the particular impetus of Covid-19 impacting women at this one point in time, the impact to the future pipeline of women leaders will be noticed for years.
See the article, "Women In The Workplace" by Mckinsey & Company and Lean In.