3. Pandemic threatens years of women's progress in the workforce
Axios' Fadel Allassan writes: More than a quarter of women in a survey of over 40,000 across 317 companies say they are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely, as the coronavirus pandemic has intensified challenges many already faced at work, a study by McKinsey & Company and Lean In shows.
Why it matters: It's an "emergency for corporate America," the report, which covered the U.S. and Canada, declares.
The big picture: This is the first time in the six years of analyzing the issue that McKinsey has seen signs of women exiting the workforce at higher rates than men, the firm wrote.
- "If these women feel forced to leave the workforce, we’ll end up with far fewer women in leadership — and far fewer women on track to be future leaders."
- It's especially of concern, McKinsey notes, because the firm's research indicates that companies in which women are well-represented in leadership are 50% more likely to outperform their peers.
The issue is more pronounced with mothers, for whom the research shows the pandemic is taking an even heavier toll.
- 76% of mothers with children under age 10 say childcare has been among their top three challenges during the pandemic, compared with 54% of fathers.
Zoom in: The research indicates Latina and Black mothers — who are more likely to be their family's only breadwinners or to have partners working outside the home during the pandemic — face a greater burden than their white counterparts.
- Latina moms are 1.6 times more likely to be responsible for all childcare and housework, while Black moms are twice as likely.
My thought bubble: This report is particularly worrisome because women's representation in the labor force has been trending backward since 2000 and has still not recovered from its drop after the 2008 Great Recession. In August, women's labor force participation rate was the lowest it has been since the late 1980s.