What a difference a year makes.
Women outnumbered men in the workforce last year, but now, the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the advancements women in America have made in the workforce.
The National Women’s Law Center reports that in December, women lost a total of 156,000 jobs -- 100% of the jobs that were cut that month.
Women of color and in the service industry were affected the most. Meanwhile – men gained 16,000 jobs.
“The reason is not surprising for me,” said Deepika Chhibber, program director of Women Back to Work. “It’s because a woman is doing the disproportionate caregiving responsibility and domestic chores at home. What’s happening right now is that women are working from home and they’re working at home.”
Women Back to Work is a diversity hiring program that helps women who’ve taken time away from their careers, go back.
Chhibber explains that part of the solution is having other family members at home pitch in to help so women can focus on work.
“Why should all the burden be falling on women? And especially when they have made so much progress,” she said.
Chhibber adds that employers can also be more flexible with work hours, so female workers can manage child care and don’t need to quit their jobs to do it.
“It makes me very upset to hear data like that. I think it speaks to why we need to take action and move now around these problems and you got to say it like it is,” said Ahmad Thomas, CEO of Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “With women of color, Black and brown women, these issues are particularly acute.”
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group just announced a program called “25 by 25.” It’s a challenge for Bay Area tech companies to fill 25% of executive positions by 2025 with hires from underrepresented groups – like people of color and women – or both.
“I’m very proud that so many of our executives and leading companies want to drive this type of change and they want to do it now,” said Thomas.
The hope now is that the female workforce gets back on track, as the pandemic gets under control.