Women represent an influential 50% of society and represent 38.8% of the total labour force globally.
Women around the world were deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which heightened the large and small inequalities, both at work and at home that women face daily. The data and findings available to us overlook huge sections of society who may not have had the privilege of being included in such research, notably key and care workers, stay-at-home mothers,freelancers and sole traders etc. who represent the ‘invisible statistics’ that we will bear in mind when making assumptions.
Women have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has taken a heavy toll on working women’s wellbeing, motivation and careers as they sacrifice their careers and work-life balance in order to care for their families and bearing the burden of domestic responsibilities
This reveals that the enlightened and equal modern society that we think we live in, may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Prior to the pandemic, 71% of UK women reported enjoying a healthy work-life balance, however, since the pandemic, this has reduced to just 31% now (Deloitte, 2021).
This could be attributed to many women facing increased work loads and greater responsibilities at home and a blurring of the boundaries between the two. This overlapping of responsibilities has led to almost half (48%) of women feeling burned out over the past year, experiencing physical symptoms of stress and burnout at up to twice the rate of men (leanin.org). The burden of domestic work and care responsibilities largely fall to women (UN, 2020) before COVID-19, women spent an average of 4.1 hours per day performing unpaid work, while men spent 1.7 hours.
This disparity in responsibilities equates to women having less time to develop education & employment opportunities as well as less time to focus on activities to nurture their personal wellbeing and happiness.
To understand the impact of the pandemic on individuals, employers must understand the personal changes it has imposed on their employees, depending on their background or circumstances. For example, those without dependents may not be as severely impacted by childcare or homeschooling but may experience other external lifestyle pressures which would impact their mental health, motivation or productivity in the workplace. Adjustments to enable people to perform at their best, whatever their circumstances, need to receive due attention. Considering the health, safety and wellbeing of employees is essential given the pressures and uncertainty people may be experiencing (CIPD, 2021). Research from IPSOS shows that 61%of women found it harder to stay positive day-to-day during Covid, due to the ongoing risk to health and livelihood compounded by domestic responsibilities and caregiving.