We’re concluding our month-long focus on the female experience in the working world with an important review of how the pandemic has placed undue pressure on women to manage work both inside and outside the home. Most importantly, we also outline how employers should respond to ensure that women are receiving fair treatment at their workplace.
What happened to women during the pandemic
- Burden of domestic responsibilities increased. For women who transitioned to a remote office, their work within the home in caregiving and household management soared, compared to that of men. What’s known as the ‘second shift,’ occurred, where women juggled their paid full-time jobs to equally time-consuming household duties.
- Higher loss of work hours compared to men. When employers cut hours, they chose to cut them from their female staff more frequently.
- Return to work has been slower. Since women have taken on more caregiving duties during the pandemic, they’ve required flexible schedules to meet this pressure, and finding work that meets this need has been slow.
- Returning to work for less money. It appears there is a pay equity dilemma occurring to women who do get hired, which is a legal and moral problem (read more about gender discrimination here).
- The pressure to work harder than their male peers. It’s not a new phenomena that women typically work longer hours and take on more duties than their male peers and it proved to be the case during the pandemic as well.
It’s a heavy list of burdens to say the least, and a reported increase of stress-related health issues has been the unfortunate result. Women are now at even higher risk of heart-related illnesses. Clearly, there is a need for employers to step up and do better in regard to their hiring practices, benefit packages, and the company culture towards their female employees.
How employers should respond
- Embrace gender diversity in hiring practices
- Ensure pay equity amongst all employees (read more about pay equity versus equal pay here)
- Offer flexible schedule, including remote options, to accommodate caregiving duties
- Make the baseline of company culture about employee well-being
- Adopt zero tolerance policies on gender discrimination and harassment, to start
With the increase of businesses operating at higher capacity, now is the time to make the adjustments necessary to guarantee employee well-being is addressed. Want to make sure you have the right support to begin? Eos HR is that team. We make sure small business employers have the resources they need to lead a productive and equitable workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.
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