Being a woman in 2021: What does the research say?

Being a woman in 2021: What does the research say?

The theme for International Women’s Day in 2021 (IWD 2021) was ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’. The theme, announced by UN Women, celebrates the tremendous efforts of women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although women are undoubtedly at the forefront of the coronavirus crisis as healthcare workers, innovators, and community organisers and caregivers, women are Heads of State and Government in just 20 countries across the world.

So, as we slowly emerge into the new normal, let’s uncover some of the most recent research into equality and being a woman in 2021.

Women and COVID-19

In 2020, women lost their jobs at a disproportionately faster rate than men because of the pandemic. This was due to the high levels of female employment in service sectors impacted by COVID-19.

A report by the UK’s Women and Equalities Committee warned that the government risked ‘turning the clock back’ on gender equality by making existing inequalities worse for pregnant women, new mothers, the self-employed, women claiming benefits, and those working in the professional childcare sector during the pandemic.

As schools closed in England, more than seven in 10 women were refused furlough according to a TUC survey even though women were carrying out two-thirds more childcare duties than men (on average) during the first weeks of lockdown.

Women and business

The 2020 Sex and Power Index from the Fawcett Society highlighted an underrepresentation of women in positions of power, with women making up 39% of secondary headteachers, 34% of MP’s, and just over one in 20 chief executives of FTSE 100 companies. Fawcett Chief Executive, Sam Smethers, said the data showed that we are “still generations away from achieving anything close to equality.”

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in April 2020 there was a 15.5% gender pay gap for all employees, which means that for every £1 men were paid, women got 84p for doing the same job. And gender pay gap reporting deadlines for the 2020-21 year have been further delayed until 5th October 2021. This means we cannot fully assess the impact of the past year on the gender dynamic in the workplace.

Attitudes to gender roles

One positive finding was that the UK is moving away from traditional views of gender roles. A survey by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) found that almost three-quarters of respondents dispute the idea of women as homemakers and men as breadwinners.

Equality in the workplace

So, how does this apply to working with ABSTRACT? One of the benefits of working with them, is to improve your business through your people by helping you to focus on better gender equality, diversity, and a smaller gender pay gap.

ABSTRACT achieve this through their award-winning learning and development programmes that promote inclusive leadership, career management for women and other underrepresented groups, and building modern-day businesses for today’s social objectives.

If you’re keen to shift your gender dials and encourage a more diverse talent pool at all levels within your organisation, you can discover more here.

Alternatively get in touch with ABSTRACT via phone, email or their contact form.  

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