A new study warns the coronavirus could erase years of progress for working women.
The report from LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company found that one in four women said they were considering leaving the workforce or downshifting career goals because of COVID-19, far more than men.
“Women cannot be expected to live up to business-as-usual expectations right now. Nobody can,” said Rachel Thomas, co-founder and CEO of LeanIn.org.
The report found many senior-level women are feeling burned out due to greater demands at work and at home.
Only one in three women of color said they heard from a manager about how they were be doing following recent racial violence.
“We know that Black women who had an ally over the course of the pandemic are two and a half times more likely to see a fair workplace and to want to stay,” said Lareina Yee, chief diversity and inclusion officer and McKinsey & Company.
The study finds women also face a caregiving crisis during COVID-19, with mothers three times as likely as fathers to be responsible for childcare.
Kate Orr was a third-grade teacher before she quit her job at an elementary school to care for her four month old.
“It's just human nature as a mother to want to do what's best for your family,” she said.
When the pandemic hit, Kanisha Mayweather left a job as a warehouse associate because of safety concerns.
“I have a one year old. She has breathing issues, and I also have a 13 year old. She has a rare type of cancer, and so I really had to leave my job because of them,” she said.
Researchers suggest employers take bold steps during the pandemic to create a more flexible and fair workplace for women and men, and set clear goals to ensure all employees feel supported.