Women in the Workplace 2021

Now in its 7th year, the Women in the Workplace annual report is out and maybe this information is more important than ever. Women have experienced extreme losses over the last year in both status and economic mobility. How can we realize the dreams our mothers have for us when the pandemic has exacerbated the inequity that preexisted it? 

The data isn’t a straight line. Some women are benefitting more than others. But as a collective, women continue to struggle to catch up to their male counterparts. Lack of access to opportunities and burnout continue to be a major factors in how women are #ELEVATED. Perhaps as a culture we are overlooking the first (and easiest) step in seeing more women make gains: Consideration. 

It will take all of us working together to actively consider where women are missing within our corporate leadership structure and make intentional efforts to remedy this dynamic. As the report reflects, this is no longer a social justice issue, it is an economic imperative. Women are exhausted and burned out. One of the most telling statistics from the report is that now 1 in 3 women are considering leaving the workforce all together. This is up from 1 in 4 a year ago. 

Take this excerpt from the report:

“A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, women in corporate America are even more burned out than they were last year—and increasingly more so than men. Despite this, women leaders are stepping up to support employee well-being and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, but that work is not getting recognized. That’s according to the latest Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey, in partnership with LeanIn.Org.”

 We can do better. We can do our part to help women and the work they are doing be SEEN. If these efforts are invisible, women will not be considered, and, consequently, will not achieve the gains they seek. 

Moreover, companies will not be productive or profitable. 

10 important takeaways from the report: 

  1. The state of women hangs in the balance. 
  2. Women made gains in 2020, but burnout is still on the rise.
  3. Despite small gains in the pipeline, women, especially women of color, remain underrepresented across the corporate ladder.
  4. Women of color lose ground at every step.
  5. Women continue to face a broken rung at the first step up to manager: for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted.
  6. Women are more burned out than men.
  7. Women are rising to the moment as stronger leaders, but their work is going unrecognized.
  8. Women leaders are champions of DEI.
  9. The work women leaders are doing drives better outcomes for all employees
  10. Women who are ‘Onlys’ and ‘double Onlys’ have a much worse experience.

For our part, we are ensuring the work women do to benefit our society is recognized. At our recent IMPACT Dinner we had the honor of awarding the Athena Leadership Award to Jennifer Nicely of CHI Memorial Foundation. As a leader, Jennifer embodies the qualities that drive excellence and outcomes. 

 CWLI is currently conducting our own, local, Leaders Survey to determine how we can improve our value in this space and cultivate leaders who accelerate progress FORward. If you’re a CWLI Leader, we ask that you take 10 minutes to complete the survey. We are monitoring how women are advancing in career status and economic mobility. Your information will help us shape a narrative that works for women in Greater Chattanooga. Understanding and localizing the data will help us see our community for what it is and pull the best parts of it into the tapestry we are weaving. 

Wouldn’t it be great if we made headlines as “The Best Place for Women to Work”?

Let’s Move FORward Together,