The theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 is #ChoosetoChallenge, calling on us all to think critically about our own thoughts and actions and how we can better promote gender inequality and celebrate women’s achievements.
But first, let’s get real for a minute.
We are collectively tired. Unless you’ve been on a magic island, you have been dealing with A LOT in this past year – COVID-19, adapting to virtual school and work, constant change, political and social unrest, and if you’re in Texas you literally had to survive during the freak winter storm last month that left so many without the basic needs of water, power, food, and heat.
So with all of that how do we summon the strength and motivation to answer the call to #choosetochallenge? And what’s at stake if you don’t #choosetochallenge?
Impacts on Your Personal Development
According to Leanin.org’s Women in the Workplace 2020 study, “The pandemic is a health and financial crisis that has turned people’s lives and workplaces upside down. Many employees are exhausted and burned out. Women, in particular, have been negatively impacted, and three groups are facing distinct challenges: mothers, senior-level women, and Black women.”
“Due to challenges created by the Covid-19 crisis, as many as two million women are considering taking a leave of absence or leaving the workforce altogether. This is the first time we’ve seen signs of women leaving the workforce at higher rates than men; in the previous six years of this study, women, and men left their companies at similar rates.
If these women feel forced to leave the workforce, we’ll end up with far fewer women in leadership—and far fewer women on track to be future leaders. All the progress we’ve seen over the past six years would be erased.”
Impacts on Your Organization and Leaders in Your Company
Companies can’t afford to lose women leaders. The financial consequences could be significant. Research shows that when women are well-represented at the top, companies are 50% more likely to outperform their peers (Leanin.org).
Beyond that, senior-level women have a vast and meaningful impact on a company’s culture. They are more likely than senior-level men to embrace employee-friendly policies and programs and to champion racial and gender diversity: Over 50% of senior-level women say they consistently take a public stand for gender and racial equity at work, compared to roughly 40% of senior-level men.
Celebrating International Women’s Day
Take today to focus on some things for yourself — either as a woman or someone who supports the women in your life!
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