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Continued from Previous……

McKinsey & Company in collaboration with has been collecting data and publishing a yearly study on the status of Women in Workplace. The 2021 report is the sixth year’s report which was published few days ago. [Link appears at the end]

Profession Biases – Another discrimination that women face everywhere is the profession bias. For example, women are discouraged from working in engineering jobs, even when these may not be hard ones. It is just a bias that has been there all along. While women are preferred in packaging jobs, they are not welcome in the production jobs, except may be garments. This is an additional barrier that women face in Pakistan and elsewhere.

Burnout – COVID-19 has taken a much greater toll on women. After yet another year of pandemic, more women are burned out than men. In the 2020 survey, 28% men and 32% women reported burnout. In 2021, the gap has increased. This year 35% men and 42% women said, ‘they have been often or almost always burned out in 2021’. In the US, 1 in 4 women (25%) had considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers during the first few months of pandemic. Now, 1 in 3 (33%) women express this desire.

Leaving the topic of women in workplace, the pandemic has created much bigger problems for women than men. The family was forced to stay at home, the uncertainty about future rose, economic pressures built up and everyone was emotionally hyped and uptight. Women were caught in the middle of everyone’s emotional response. No one cared about them, but they took care of everyone. They pacified emotions, resolved conflicts, and maintained peace at home. There was huge burden physically in cooking, washing, ironing, and cleaning. They did not get enough rest. They suffered emotionally because no one appreciated their service and remained unhappy. Whoever could, shifted their unhappiness on to them. Women suffered at workplace and then at home in a never-ending loop.

Women with Disabilities – About 1 in 10 working women in the US have a disability. These could be in any form, including paralysis, pain, chronic illness, impaired hearing or vision, learning disabilities, and mental health issues. All disabilities put women at serious disadvantage, they are often overlooked, and their work is undervalued. “They are far more likely than women overall to be interrupted, to have their judgment questioned, and to hear that they are too angry or emotional, and they are also less likely to feel supported by their managers. Less than half of women with disabilities feel they have equal opportunity for advancement, and almost a quarter say their disability has led to missing out on a raise, or chance to get ahead.”

COVID-19 crisis has been especially challenging for women with disabilities. In our own country, the opportunities are less for women in general, lesser for women with a disadvantage like economic or social status, and least for women with disability. Well, we do not hold an enviable record for men with disabilities either. We see no problem with the armies of beggars lining every road, and we feel good giving them a few coins, but we do not wish to burden our mind with more thinking.

The report points out to a silver lining also. Women are setting a new standard for leadership.

Women rose to the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic with great courage and resilience, more than men in many cases.

Women managers are taking more action to support their teams. DEI – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion – is one of their key areas of focus. Senior-level women are twice as likely as senior-level men to spend more time on DEI work that falls even outside their formal job responsibilities.

Compared to men, women managers are doing more to promote employee wellbeing.

The table below summarizes the study findings on this topic.

How Managers are Supporting Teams?

Area                                        Men Managers                       Women Managers

  • Emotional Support                             19%                                              31%
  • Checking on overall wellbeing           54%                                               61%
  • Work-Life challenges                         24%                                               29%
  • Making workload manageable          36%                                               42%
  • Preventing Burnout                           16%                                                21%

The above data clearly shows that women take greater care of their teams, which is a core responsibility of a manager.                                              

To be Continued……

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