According to a report by PwC, the pandemic has had a severe impact on a decade's worth of work that has gone into helping women gain traction at the workplace in the U.S. and other rich countries.
While the pandemic has impacted many lives in a big way, the lives of women have been severely impacted as the crisis has added additional responsibilities to women. This is mainly due to the rise of WFH and remote schooling, which has added caretaking responsibilities on women. These responsibilities have brought about the exodus of legions of women from the global workforce.
For long, women have been tasked with caretaking responsibilities due to the longstanding societal structures. This has been a huge barrier for women to join the workforce traditionally. But things have changed in the last decade as the numbers of women at workplaces have significantly increased.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a curveball at this positive growth. "The most important point is society isn't where it needs to be," said Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet, in an interview. She was the CFO of Morgan Stanley prior to joining Google in 2015. "This is a broad societal issue."
But the gender disparity is apparent even in the private sector. Does Ruth do anything to help with this? "Where I'm most focused is: How do you break through those [headwinds] and accelerate the opportunities for women at all levels? And it clearly starts with the tone from the top," she said.
She explained that leaders must work together to put in place rigorous systems and processes to get better results for recruiting and higher equity for women at the workplace and at the corporate ladder's top echelons.