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Pandemic, demands of families put women in peril in the workforce

How women exiting workforce is causing greater equal pay gap
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 11:53 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The pandemic has taken a toll on families nationwide, but recent reports have shown that women have been disproportionately affected in the workplace by the pandemic, setting women back even further between pay cuts and 2 million women leaving the workforce, many to support childcare needs.

In Toledo alone, women make 84 cents to the dollar of their male counterparts. Francine Jain, CEO and career coach expert of Terawatt, says most of the frontline workers and ones who lost their jobs were women, and that we need to work harder to accommodate women in the workforce to overcome this major setback our society is now facing.

Some of Jain’s tips for businesses include:

  • Creating a culture of inclusivity for women and a family-friendly environment;
  • Finding ways to provide or reimburse for childcare;
  • Providing personal development resources for women to grow within the company;
  • Revise the recruiting process and standardize salaries across the board.

“So what happens is, the men will have this continuous track of things that have gone really well, and the women won’t because there will have been something that happened right in the middle,” Jain said. “This is where people talk about the pipeline problem for women, that there’s a lack of women rising to the top -- it’s because it’s not apples to apples, it’s apples to oranges.”

She also shares one of the biggest problems in the home is taking women out of the workforce, and that if companies worked to create an equal pay structure, more families could afford childcare, eliminating the “pipeline problem,” of companies not having enough qualified women in leadership roles.

“My argument in my family was, ‘Yeah, I’m not making a ton more after we pay the nanny, but it keeps my place in the business, it keeps me in the workforce,’” Jain said. “So my argument to women is, just stay in, even if you make less than the nanny, stay in it, because it’s only for a few years, and then the kids end up being in school full-time.”

Some tips for families to support women rising up in the workforce include:

  • Finding ways to support families so the mothers can continue working;
  • Explore job-sharing options;
  • Establish KPI’s for growth in the workplace;
  • Company childcare options & reimbursements;
  • Take any personal development resource options.

Jain also said that as more women take roles in Congress, we could see a greater increase in childcare solutions in the public sector, beyond just the private and community solutions.

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