By: Priyanka Jaisinghani, +SocialGood Connector
This year’s International Women’s Day celebrates the incredible efforts that women and girls have taken in their communities to create a more equal future and support recovery efforts.
This past year, headlines across the world surfaced the many challenges that women have faced with the onset of COVID-19: increased domestic violence, unpaid care duties, unemployment, poverty and more. Despite the challenges, women have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, and female leaders have been praised for their roles in response to COVID-19. However, they still remain underrepresented in decision-making. According to UN Women, “women serve as Heads of State or Government in only 22 countries, and 119 countries have never had a woman leader.” We have a long way to go.
As UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, “We need women’s representation that reflects all women and girls in all their diversity and abilities, and across all cultural, social, economic and political situations. This is the only way we will get real societal change that incorporates women in decision-making as equals and benefits us all.”
With COVID-19 threatening to set back decades of progress on gender equality, this work is more urgent than ever. We need more women at the table to reflect the narratives, experiences, and insights of their communities on a local to global level. The work starts with each and every one of us.
Here are 3 ways we can support women:
- Corporations need to play a larger role: As shown in a Mckinsey & Company report on Women in the Workplace, mothers are significantly more likely than fathers to be thinking about downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce. Corporations need to step up and ensure that their COVID-19-specific policies and crisis responses are gender-sensitive and inclusive. One of the many ways that they can support women is by creating a culture for flexible work schedules to accommodate the multiple roles women play, and creating realistic expectations about the workload. We’ve seen what could once be accomplished in the office, may take an extended period in the remote setting. The workload women had prior to the pandemic, may not be realistic during the current pandemic. pre-pandemic and the current.
- Take into account physical, mental and emotional health: Corporations, governments, and community spaces need to be aware of women’s increased exposure to domestic violence while confined at home during the pandemic. These entities can designate a special and trusted contact person for women to safely connect with. These sources can act as a gateway in providing women the resources and support they may require.
- Invest in women-owned businesses: Women are often the pillars of their communities. Take the opportunity to discover women-owned businesses that are affected by the economic crisis or those who are helping the pandemic response. Buy their products and services.