The pandemic has dealt a setback to many women’s careers, adding to the already present fears of failure, not being liked and being unfairly judged, writes Kaiser Consulting CEO Lori Kaiser. “Once you become comfortable with fear and with taking steps into that fear, then your tolerance of fear increases, and women leaders can ‘get comfortable with being uncomfortable,’ ” she writes.
As vaccination deployment continues to expand, it has become apparent that many women in leadership roles will soon give up our side gig of home-schooling children and being short-order cooks all day long.
It is well-documented that women have been negatively impacted professionally during the past year of the pandemic. An analysis by the National Women’s Law Center found that 80% of the 1.1 million workers over the age of 20 who left the workforce in September 2020 were women.
In addition, 34% of men working from home with children said they received a promotion during the pandemic, while 9% of women received a promotion in the same situation, reported an August 2020 study by Qualtrics and theBoardlist. In terms of pay, 26% of men with children at home received a pay raise during remote working, compared to 13% of women with children at home.
The optimism building around the reopening of the economy means women can start to think of career progression again – a critical professional development journey that largely has been on hold for more than a year. A survey conducted years before the pandemic by London Business School discovered 70% of women feel anxious about taking a career break, which is similar to the break pushed on many women during the peak of COVID-19.
It’s time for women to again consider what the future holds. Is it a promotion? A job change? A lateral move within your current business? And yet, many women will not take the leap to be their own champion, to step up on their own behalf and to drive this consideration.
Historically, telling people where we want to go or what we believe we deserve feels outside our comfort zone. Why? Because young girls have been taught to “get along and go along” and “it is not polite to talk about yourself.”