SOS: Women in Leadership
March 18, 2021
One in four women has reportedly either considered or have had to downshift their careers OR left the workforce altogether due to COVID 19. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 2.3 million women have exited the workforce compared with 1.8 million men. In fact, in the month of Dec. 2020 alone, 100 percent of ALL job losses were those held by women. The harsh reality of these losses in gender equality is REAL.
Corporate America is at a critical crossroads. We are faced with an opportunity to rise to this moment or risk losing years of progress promoting and keeping women in positions of leadership. Melinda Gates recently opined, “this is how we can emerge from the pandemic in all of its dimensions: by recognizing that women are not just victims of a broken world; they can be architects of a better one.”
The crisis also represents an opportunity for business. If companies make significant investments in building a more flexible and empathetic workplace, they can retain the employees most affected by today’s crises and nurture a culture in which women in leadership have equal opportunity to achieve their potential over the long term. By supporting women in their leadership roles, we not only retain valued leaders but nurture career longevity for women at all levels.
PRC’s CEO Tara Powers sees this pivotal moment as an opportunity to leverage what she has witnessed over decades of working with remote teams. “It’s true that women have long experienced the challenges of balancing work and home life,” Powers says. “And as a result, women may be better equipped to navigate this next iteration of how we work. If companies rise to the occasion, we can lay the foundation for a more flexible and equitable workplace in the long term.”
Powers offers four important guidelines for supporting women in leadership roles:
- Transparency: Embrace and welcome a women’s role in navigating today’s priorities by inviting open and honest dialogue. Understand that work from home or transitioning back to the office demands a degree of flexibility and shifting priorities.
- Prioritize organizational health: Building a healthy, supportive culture will keep strong women engaged and energized to stay the course. An honest evaluation of your team’s current status is a good place to start.
- Model values of empathy and cooperation: Be generous in acknowledging your own mistakes and celebrating even shortfalls as lessons learned. This normalizes failures and challenges for ALL women, creating an environment of accountability, vulnerability and shared humanity.
- Empower women in your organization to lead the way: Encourage women in leadership to recommend new ways of thinking, risk-taking, and ways to disrupt the status quo. By doing so, we can clear the way for a transitional moment in your organization’s trajectory, and strengthen wellbeing and connection for the good of all.
At PRC, our passion is creating a culture of connection by developing engaged, emotionally intelligent leaders and truly cohesive teams. We offer customizable training programs that can guide your company to meet this transitional moment in time.