While the pandemic has highlighted many staggering inequalities in our economic and social system, one of the most significant is its disproportionate effect on women in the workforce. To get a broad idea of the affect coronavirus has had on women, let’s look at some numbers.
- Jobs held by women are nearly 2x more likely to be at risk from the virus. 39% of global employment is made up of women, yet women account for 54% of overall job losses.
- Only 41% of women report their financial wellness as good or excellent, compared to 58% of men.
- 72% of women report feeling more stressed due to the pandemic compared to 61% of men.
- Sectors negatively affected by COVID-19 are disproportionately populated by women, leading to jobs held by women being 19% more vulnerable than jobs held by men.
So what does this mean for employers? It’s time to lean into strategies designed to empower, educate, and support women in their workforce.
Start with education
A critical factor in working against the inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic is to build awareness within your company and your community about the effects that recessions have on women and minorities.
The more awareness you build, the more effectively you can push your community towards working against those detrimental consequences.
One significant way employers can affect positive change is by developing wellness programs that focus on financially empowering their employees. The 2020 Workforce Benefits Report by Bank of America determined that because women and men have different financial goals, they also have varying challenges and needs.
According to that report, women are less likely to feel they have control over their credit card debt, citing it as one of their top three financial concerns. It found women are twice as likely not to have money left over after paying their monthly expenses, and saving for retirement was a top financial goal.
As employers develop wellness programs and benefits packages for 2021, these are critical components to keep in mind.
Consider implementing debt management support. As women are much more likely to have credit card and student loan debt than men, offering services to help them address their debt would be a targeted way to enable them to become financially stable in 2021.
Your employees may also greatly appreciate the ability to talk to an expert who can help them plan for their financial goals and mitigate challenges. Partnering up with a financial consultant who offers this type of support, enabling employees to become more financially literate, can help them gain long-term stability.
The pandemic hasn’t just taken a toll on financial situations—it also puts people’s mental and physical health at risk. To support your employees as they navigate the pandemic, consider offering assistance programs such as an EAP or virtual mental healthcare services.
Remember, wellness isn’t just financial, or mental, or physical. It’s a combination of everything. Employers who focus on supporting their employees in each category see increased engagement, loyalty, and productivity. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do. In times like these, businesses, employees, organizations, and communities all have to work together to protect and support one another. Together, we’re strong.