The global pandemic has impacted everyone, but in some ways, it has hit women, especially working mothers, in uniquely challenging ways. According to the 2020 Women in the Workplace survey, conducted by McKinsey & Company, one in four working women in America is now thinking about leaving the workforce, either permanently or temporarily, or downsizing their career for a role that is less demanding.
Companies could be hit hard if women step away from their jobs. Forty-seven percent of entry level jobs in America at the start of 2020 were held by women. Thirty-three percent of Senior Managers or Directors were women. And twenty-one percent of C-Suite executives at that point were women. The impact of women leaving the workforce could be devastating to companies, put a heavy burden on family finances, and set women back decades it their progress climbing the corporate ladder.
The Value of Women in Leadership Roles
In 2019, before anyone thought a year like 2020 was even possible, S&P Global analyzed earnings and share price data of 5825 companies with new executive leadership. While only 578 of the new corporate leaders were women, two years after the change in command, the stock price of companies that appointed female CEOs outperformed by 20 percent that of companies that appointed male CEOs. And the stock price of companies with newly appointed female CFOs out performed their male counterparts at the two-year mark by 8 percent.
The S&P Global report, titled When Women Lead, Firms Win, is only one of several studies that point to strong earnings and healthy corporate cultures when there are women in the C-Suite.
Better Support Starts with Better Communication
Opening better channels of communication is a good first step. And if COVID-19 has taught families and companies anything, it’s that we all need to be flexible to new ideas and new ways of getting things done both at work and at home.
Ironically, the challenges of 2020 could yield new insights for everyone when it comes to supporting one another whether it is in our own families or our work families.