The Future of Working Women And The Issues They Face

Apr 16, 2022 1 Min Read
Tired Asian Working woman with playing children at home
Source:Photo from Pexels by Ketut Subiyanto
The Pandemic’s Impact on Working Women

We all can agree that the pandemic was a merciless phenomenon that surprised many if not all in the global sphere.
Since 2020, the world, work and life as we knew it has changed. Among those most challenged by these disruptions are working women.
For instance, working women who are also mothers found it more challenging to remain employed. Some with the needs to care for their family and parents were forced to leave the workforce abruptly.

Gallup reported that, “Women disproportionately assumed caregiving responsibilities – often at the expense of their careers and overall well-being.”

Evidently, most working women especially working mothers reported having experienced emotional and mental distress—and complicated life economically as the challenges of managing the household responsibilities increased.
According to Gallup, “globally, women reported higher rates of stress, sadness and worry than men -- and they're more likely to report that their mental health was negatively affected by the pandemic. In the U.S. and Canada, 62% of working women reported experiencing stress "a lot of the day" the previous day -- 10 percentage points higher than working men and a significant increase from 2019 levels (51%).”
Depending on whether you were a mother, a caretaker or a single woman with various responsibilities that warranted your attention, mental energies, and self-involvement—only time will tell what the impact of these past few years will be in the grand scheme of things.
Whatever the case, the stats are clear in conveying the underlying fears that affected women unlike their counterpart men, on the account of career advancement and family and wellbeing.
If you are a career woman, a mother, and have to take care of your elderly parent for instance, you already have extra work on your plate. Furthermore, as ‘Chief Family Nurturers', women have had to navigate the pandemic with extra loads in addition to their career as they navigate family raising, work, wife duties and taking care of their parents.
As such, some women have opted out of the workforce - resigned to care for the needs of their families. Others who expressed their desire to continue to work however demanded more flexible schedules, as some want to find meaning and purpose in their work.
While these needs may seem trivial or irrelevant to some, the reality is that we need women in the workforce for their contributions are matchless. The research is out underscoring the reality that when women lead, firms win — and I might add society as at large wins too.
Organisations must thus seek to address women’s needs and concerns for the overall wellbeing of society as a whole. Simply put, a successful and strong woman means a strong man, a strong family, and a strong society!

What Working Women Want

More and more women are realising that the sooner they gain control of their careers, the better off their lives and those who depend on them will be.
As such, many who left corporate jobs either due to mass lay offs or because they felt it was the opportune time to launch a business, are said to have boosted new business startups despite the pandemic.
According to a Yelp’s Economic Survey report, about 146,486 new businesses opened in the U.S in Q1 2021. This is an increase by 4% from Q1 2019. Many of these new ventures are women owned.
A survey by revealed the reason for this…

  • 58% of women want more control over their work schedule.
  • 24% wanted to start a business that they could pass on to their families.
  • 37% were looking to improve their financial opportunities.
  • 19% lost their jobs.
  • 9% didn’t have any other job opportunities.


Infographic by Leaderonomics: A Survey of Women Starting Businesses During Covid-19

Overall, women want to lead their destiny, and are looking to invest themselves with employers who will value their unique talents and cater to their needs for:

  • More job satisfaction,
  • More organisation dedication (career growth),
  • More meaningful work,
  • More flexible work schedules.

Research by center for creative leadership found that organisations that hire women are more likely to enjoy financial gains resulting from better work place cultures and employee engagement. Making it obvious that women in the workplace concerns are not going away, and thus warrant deliberate attention.

How To Support Women in the Workplace

The last two years have been challenging and have unveiled a lot of issues. These issues always existed although the working woman has had to navigate around them to make good on expected goals. The employers have all this while chosen to turn a blind eye as long as the profits grew. Thankfully, the high rates of attritions and the cost of attracting and retaining great talent drew attention to these issues now.

To address these issues squarely, future businesses must rethink their strategy on how to engage women while leveraging the opportunities that exist.  

For example, mental health concerns, the need for learning to stay current on the new technologies, collaboration across virtual teams and of course the need for empathy can no longer be ignored.
Organisations that satisfy these needs are more likely to attract and retain people while also positioning themselves for future success. Any marginal investment can go a long way in attracting and retaining loyalty especially at a time when attrition rates are off the charts.

Related: Inclusion and Diversity Starts with Leaders 

What you can invest in are as follows:

  1. Deliver meaning and happiness: Take time to understand why key talent, especially women are drawn to your firm. Understanding your employee’s life goals and offering support could yield lucrative ROI if you are willing to make the initial investment.
  2. Check-In with your employees regularly: Feedback is critical if you expect to be able to address real time happenings (for example, child’s sickness) with your employees in a way that can garner goodwill equity for your firm.
  3. Autonomy: Give your employees autonomy and empower them with tools that allow them to deliver on goals. They might even surprise you with what you least expect from them.
  4. Be impartial but do account for the fact that not all employees are created equal. Establish your working rules and be transparent on how you’ll enforce them.
  5. Invite your employees to suggest best practices, for example, on topics such as productivity, engagement, and performance, especially if your teams are virtual. This can prove to be a wealth of insights for growth.
  6. Offer career development or other support services for example, mentoring, sponsorship and or coaching services.


Infographic by Leaderonomics: Organisations need to invest to attract and retain people

Despite the challenges created by the pandemic, overall, women remain optimistic about their potential to progress in their careers whilst acknowledging barriers do exist.


As the workforce evolves, more and more employees will expect better treatment from their employers due to health and well-being concerns.
The hard truth is that women who, by nature, are nurturers tend to approach life, work, wellbeing, and relationships a little differently than their counterparts.
Businesses that realise this combination and who welcome more women into their workforce while also acknowledging women’s preference to flexibility/hybrid work will benefit from this unique talent pool.

You can do more to support working women. Supporting them means better retention rates! Read more articles on Necole. Necole is a state of the art learning platform that curates personalised learning just for you. **SPECIAL OFFER - Use this code ABETTERME and get a 5% discount on your subscription to Necole. To find out more about Necole or to subscribe, here.

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Carolyne is the founding principal at VPF Strategies, a strategic and leadership development firm helping professionals and leaders design and develop growth strategies to meet their goals: Thriving Wellness, Cultures and Businesses. She is a speaker, author of Being Grounded: 21 Days To Come Alive and Love Your Life, and a contributing writer for various publications.

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