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Retail Industry Updates

Working Women Have Suffered More During Pandemic Than Working Men

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40% of women — and 53% of working moms — said they make less money now than they did before the pandemic. (iStock/Viktoriia Hnatiuk)

The pandemic has had more of an adverse effect on women — especially working mothers — than men, according to a recent study by Affect, a New York-based public relations, marketing and social media agency that specializes in technology, healthcare and professional services.

Affect’s “COVID-19 & the Workforce” study examined the behaviors and attitudes of American adults in the workforce, as well as the impact the pandemic has had on them and their jobs over the past year. While both men and women reported experiencing some degree of negative impact, working women have shouldered a significantly larger burden than their male counterparts. According to Affect, the findings revealed the disproportionate burden that the pandemic has had on women who have experienced declines in income, job growth and job performance while also taking on added responsibilities at home over the past year.

Some of the key findings include:

• 40% of women — and 53% of working moms — said they make less money now than they did before the pandemic.

• About 24% of working moms said they reduced their work hours to take care of children or a family member over the last year, compared to about 17% of working dads and 11% of non-parents.

• About 20% of working moms took a temporary leave of absence from a job to handle increased caregiving or household responsibilities.

• Men were more than three times as likely as women to be promoted at work over the last year, and working dads of children under 18 were five times more likely to be promoted than working moms.

• Men were twice as likely to say their job performance improved over the past year (24% of men compared to 12% of women).

• 32% of working moms said their job performance declined during the pandemic.

• 24% of working moms said they have considered leaving the workforce permanently as a result of working during the pandemic, compared to just 6% of working dads.

• While nearly a third of all working parents have reported spending more time on child care over the last year in light of the pandemic, more working moms (47%) are spending increased time overseeing their children’s education than working dads (31%).

• Significantly more working mothers (56%) have spent more time over the last year on household tasks than working dads (31%).

According to the report, women have also taken more of a physical toll:

• 27% of women said they have spent less time working out or exercising over the last year.

• Working dads were twice as likely to say they have been able to exercise more during the pandemic (31%) than working moms (15%).

• 33% of women said they have gotten less sleep during the pandemic, compared to 20% of men.

• Working moms reported the highest level of decreased sleep, with 44% sleeping less over the past year versus 18% of working dads

“The pandemic has wreaked havoc in the lives and livelihoods of many Americans, but women have been particularly strained over the last year, especially working mothers,” said Sandra Fathi, president of Affect. “Considering that women were already in a position where they experienced inequity across so many facets of the workplace, we need to take immediate steps to stop that gap from widening even further by offering the flexibility, support and growth opportunities that women desperately need in the workplace right now to ensure their success both at work and at home, and not be in a position of sacrificing one for the other.”

The “COVID-19 & the Workforce” survey also assessed what working women need from their employers to be more successful while working in a pandemic:

• 52% said that a pay increase would help fuel their success.

• 38% said they would achieve more success in their jobs if they were offered flexible schedules.

• 26% expressed a desire for more child care support from their employers.

• 24% said they would be more successful if they had more paid time off.

• 29% said that having access to mental health services would make them more successful while working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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