One in three women said that they considered downshifting their career or leaving the workforce in 2021. Things aren’t showing signs of slowing down with 275,000 women leaving the workforce just this past January. Women have struggled with the “double shift” of household responsibilities, mental health challenges, and concerns about a higher rate of unemployment—particularly among mothers of color and single mothers. It’s why women are leaving the workforce in record numbers.
Mothers are more likely than fathers to worry that their work performance is being negatively judged due to their caregiving responsibilities. Studies have shown that women do significantly more housework and caregiving than men. In fact, they’re 1.5 times more likely than fathers to be spending an extra three or more hours a day on housework and childcare—equivalent to 20 hours a week, or half a full-time job. For single mothers, trying to balance work responsibilities with these tasks feels nearly impossible. To help working mothers in your organization, evaluate the childcare related support programs and policies you offer.
Taking on the bulk of caregiving responsibilities is just one of the many factors contributing to increased burnout amongst women. They report feeling as though they need to always “be on”. In Deloitte Global’s report, the top reason women are leaving the workforce entirely is an increased workload. For working mothers, feelings of needing to be constantly available to work at any time compounded with the lack of flexibility given to them can cause significant strain on their mental health. Women who work at companies that support employee well-being, offer flexibility, and prioritize DEI, are less likely to consider leaving their companies. Look for ways to be flexible with schedules. Establishing work norms, like not being expected to respond to urgent requests outside of work, goes a long way to lessen feelings of burnout.
Women do not feel as empowered in their careers. They feel as though they lack supportive environments, development opportunities, and professional networks. According to McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace report, women are promoted to manager positions at far lower rates than men. For every 100 men promoted, there are only 86 women. Their work often goes unnoticed. Compared with men at the same level, women are doing more to assist their teams, be allies to women of color, and advance DEI efforts. It’s important to set goals to improve the workplace for women so that they feel confident in their career outlooks. Organizations that don’t recognize women leaders are at risk of losing them.
If you don’t want to lose the talent and experience that working women provide, you need to foster an inclusive work culture. Here are some things to implement to make progress:
Research shows that employers who give women the culture and support they need to succeed at work will have a more motivated workforce and are likely to report greater retention.
WorkLife Partnership is proud to be a women-led and founded organization that can support women in your workforce by offering resources that can help them remain employed should they wish to be. Our Resource Navigators can help women with:
Want to learn more about WorkLife’s Resource Navigation Services? Contact us.