There is an exodus of working women from the workforces across the world. In fact, 73% of those exiting paid work are women. And in many cases, those women will not be back in the paid workforce. This is a huge red flag for industry and workplaces. We already have critical skills and labour shortages in some sectors along with low representation of women, particularly non-white women.
Why Working Women Left (paid) Work
Women left the paid workforce for a range of reasons including that the feminised industries (hospitality, education, entertainment) were severely impacted. They are opting out of the workforce because of the gender pay gap, and because of the massive burden of unpaid labour plus holding down a full time job. When women still perform 77% of the unpaid labour in the world, it is no surprise that so many of them are contemplating or acting to:
- Resign from work
- Downsize her career
- Opting for part-time work
- Find a less demanding job
- Find a job with better work-life balance
- Bow out of paid work completely
No surprise, but massively disappointing to see after decades of work to level the playing field for women in the workforce, that a massive backslide is occurring.
Why Are We Going Backwards?
Representation levels of women in organisations is going backwards because the global pandemic has called out what women have known for decades. Women are still managing the lionesses share of unpaid labour, they are still trying to fit into workplaces that have not evolved a lot since the industrial revolution and they are still subject to decisions about that are made by men who dominate leadership roles.
Now is the time for organisational leaders to reimagine their workplaces or risk opening an already wide gender gap which impacts women’s lifetime economic security as well as the organisations ability to sustainably outperform in the long term.
Why Leaders Must Act Now
When 39% of women surveyed say that they feel they have little or no support from their employers, and women are leaving the workforce at 4 times the rate that men are leaving, it’s time for leaders to act.
One size does not fit all workplaces, but this 10 step plan, adapted “Bill of Rights for Moms” from Marshall Plan for Moms is a great start. Use the 10 steps to audit your workplace and then take steps to stem the tide of women exiting the workforce.
Do the women in your workplace:
- Have control over their working schedules?
- Have support for child care?
- Have policies that promote gender equality at home?
- Have access to paid leave and support for her mental health and wellbeing?
- Have fair pay and a living wage?
- Have the opportunity to not experience the Motherhood penalty at work?
- Have adequate time to recover from childbirth and bond with her babies?
- Have on-ramps back into the workforce?
- Have access to time off to care for herself or her loved ones when they are sick?
- Have an employer that visibly, vocally and publicly Advocates for women?
If you’re curious, concerned and serious about closing the gender gap in your workplace, then Book a Call with me and lets plan a Conversation to Action workshop. I’ll take your top team through the why, what and importantly how to make your workplace work for women, and together, we can stem the exodus of women from the workforce and start enabling them and your organisation reach its full potential.