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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Edwards


The events of 2020 and 2021 turned workplaces upside down. Under the highly challenging circumstances of the Covid-19 crisis, many employees are struggling to do their jobs. Some feel that they are "always on" now that the boundaries between work and home have blurred. They are worried about their family's health and finances. Burnout is a real issue.

Women in particular have been negatively impacted, especially women of color, as they have been laid off or furloughed more than any other group during the Covid-19 crisis. This pause in their employment seriously stalled their careers and jeopardized their financial security.

The pandemic has also intensified challenges that women already face in the workplace. Working mothers have always worked a "double shift" - a full day of work, followed by hours spent caring for children and carrying out household responsibilities.

Meanwhile, black women already face more barriers to advancement than most other employees. Today they are also coping with the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 coupled with the emotional toll of repeated instances of racial violence.

As a result of these dynamics one in four women are contemplating what many would have considered unthinkable less than a year ago: Downshifting their careers and leaving the workforce.

This is a critical time for our economy. Companies risk losing valuable women in leadership positions and unwinding years of painstaking progress toward gender diversity.

This crisis also represents an opportunity. If companies make significant investment in building a more flexible and empathetic workplace, they can retain the employees most impacted by today's crisis and create more opportunities for women to succeed in the long term.

We are at a crossroads that will have consequences for our economy for decades to come. Many ask how can we stem the tide of this crisis. We believe the answer lies in innovative and progressive strategies designed to assist women to enter and remain in the leadership pipeline.

The Women's Leadership Institute continues to develop services to address these issues and more.

We have invested in creating ecosystems that provide women equitable access to resources and opportunities to close gender gaps. For additional information about our expanded services contact (914) 664-0430.

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