There has been much gained in the fight for women’s rights in the workplace in recent years, however It is well understood that the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on women could set back progress in this area significantly. As we approach International Women’s Day this Monday 8th March, we look more closely at the impact of the pandemic on tech’s female workforce.
A report by global consultancy firm Deloitte, revealed that 82% of women surveyed said their lives have been negatively disrupted by the pandemic with 70% of these women concerned that their career growth would be negatively impacted as a result. These findings are backed up by a 2021 report by Kaspersky that indicates around half of women working in tech believe the pandemic has delayed their career progression, with four out of ten women saying that they were held back from pursuing career changes in recent months due to family or home pressures.
Another study entitled ‘Life under lockdown: Report on the impact of COVID-19 on professional women’s unpaid work’ indicated that ‘professional women in the 36 to 45 age group are burned out as a consequence of the significant increase in their unpaid work’, particularly in relation to those with schooling/nursing and caregiving responsibilities.
All the evidence suggests that the impact of the pandemic has left many women in tech feeling burnt out, unsupported, and undervalued.
With recent stats illustrating how numbers of women in tech have remained static for over a decade, it is clear that the tech sector has a long way to go in achieving better gender balance and reaping the rewards of an diverse and inclusive workforce.
What can be done to redress this balance? Mentoring programmes with senior female figures, flexible working patterns for all staff, parental leave, and organisational cultures that support diversity, equity and inclusion are all aspects that can make a difference. By supporting women in tech through these latter stages of the pandemic, and encouraging more women to consider a STEM career, the benefits are there for all to see.