mbarry1_Miguel PereiraGetty Images_mom working from home Miguel Pereira/Getty Images

The Pandemic Threat to Female Leadership

COVID-19 is causing women to leave the workforce in droves just when they are urgently needed in leadership positions, including in public health. Without women’s expertise, leadership talents, and unique perspectives, the road to recovery could be far longer, and we risk being underprepared for the next health crisis.

STANFORD – One in four. That’s the proportion of American women who are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce due to the impact of COVID-19. In just one year, the pandemic has driven more than two million women in the United States out of the workplace, resulting in the largest male-female unemployment gap in two decades.

Working mothers, more than 40% of whom are their family’s primary breadwinner, have been especially hit hard. Many simply are unable to balance their careers with overwhelming increases in household responsibilities at home. This mirrors similar trends globally – across all regions, women lost jobs at a greater rate than men in 2020, as they took on an average of 30 more hours of childcare per week.

COVID-19 is causing women to leave the workforce in droves just when we urgently need to elevate more of them into leadership positions across sectors, including in our own field of global health. Without women’s expertise, leadership talents, and unique perspectives, the road to recovery could be far longer, and we risk being underprepared for the next health crisis, particularly given the pandemic’s clear gendered effects.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

or

Register for FREE to access two premium articles per month.

Register

https://prosyn.org/1K3paRV