By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

The aftereffects of COVID-19 has thrown the global economy off balance and largely continues to impact women in terms of gender equality. Labor market surveys reveal that a whopping 54% of the women workforce is vulnerable to overall job losses – with the risk rate for men being starkly 1.8 times lower in the ‘gender-clustered’ labor spectrum. The market dynamics of the current gender-regressive economy project that, in ten years, unemployment for women is likely to set back the global GDP by a significant 1$ trillion. 

Essentially, the absence of systemic growth and a multitude of other attitudinal barriers can be attributed to the economic fallout and gender-based implications caused by the pandemic. Conventional mindsets about the role of women are reported to reflect in decision-making at the family and organizational levels. Stringent quarantine measures making people home-bound, inequality issues on the home front, unpaid care, overwhelming domestic responsibilities, closed schools, and shutting down of day-care facilities – the ‘brunt’ is borne by women. With the pandemic exacerbating the work-life balance for women, it is not exactly surprising that they are falling off the workforce map due to the deficit of progressive work-life policies in place. 

Compelling data from the pandemic state that the consequences are here to stay, and if left unacknowledged, will have a catastrophic effect on the global economy in the long term. Gender equality – in society and work, are intricately interlinked and known to address mindset bias and economic insecurity caused by the inadequacy of education and income. The call of the hour is to mitigate the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on working women and identify measures to boost social and economic outcomes for millions of women worldwide. Business leaders and policymakers need to recalibrate gender equality and strive to bridge the gender gap in the global workforce. 

Data from the UN Women’s Chief statistician report that a majority of the nations are failing to aggregate data broken down by sex, age, and other vital metrics – such as class, race, location, disability, and migrant status. This acute gap in data has compounded the recovery efforts for comprehensive impact analysis across countries and communities. 

Championing gender equality is the ‘new’ normal and significant efforts in these areas must be made to achieve exemplary outcomes in the economic and social lives of women:

  • Expanding the outreach by investing in direct income for women to advance gender parity.

Introduce policies for economic support packages, tax exemptions, and extended unemployment benefits that deliver tangible income for women.

  • Extending support for women-owned businesses

Implementing subsidies in loans and introduce specific grants and stimulus funding in women-dominated sectors. Supply of essential personal protection equipment and other critical supplies for women-owned micro, small, and medium businesses, and relaxed tax burdens to provide economic relief.

  • Support for the women employee

Bolstering access to more affordable childcare services to augment participation of women in the labor force. Introduce digital inclusion in essential industries and platforms that largely offer gender flexibility and social protection from undervalued services.

  • Recalibrating attitudinal biases

Advocating an equal distribution of domestic responsibilities with accommodative work hours for all essential caregivers, paid leave, and child care service access. Urge governments and stakeholders to roll out public campaigns to combat the negative influence of gender disparity and drive inclusive economic growth. 

On International Women’s Day this year, at the “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” event, the UN will be honoring the untiring contribution made by women and girls around the world toward achieving more equity and driving economic progress. On the backdrop of this significant recognition, Numly Inc. will be celebrating the role of women at work through its women leadership programs available on its Peer Coaching platform – NumlyEngage, that can be leveraged to advocate inclusion and social and economic growth for women.

The spread of the pandemic and social distancing has precipitated the feeling of isolation in women. Notwithstanding, the paradigm shift in work culture where the ‘new’ normal has been embraced as a welcome change has begun to foster a larger female labor-force participation in the workforce. Remote working opportunities have opened up avenues, what with organizations enabling women to reclaim their work-life balance and drive phenomenal business outcomes. 

NumlyEngage is an end-end digital experience that aligns with the post-pandemic world and offers reskilling programs to help combat the backward spiral in the progress of the workforce. Our networking solution model is designed to help create greater cognizance of skill sets and potential. We transform people and resources through peer coaching and self-development programs that are designed to expedite employee skill growth and improve retention. 

With return-to-work programs being introduced in organizations to transcend the aftermath of the pandemic, reskilling the existing workforce is now seen as an imperative to retain their top talent. Our AI-powered coaching platform bridges people and helps track key metrics for measurable employee performance and business growth with exemplary reskilling models. We, at Numly, understand the new dynamic of the reskilling revolution and how our career development innovations can transform the future of work. In the struggle for gender diversity, championing the work-life balancing act and fighting gender-bias to usher in meaningful change is our core focus. 

Numly’s prepackaged programs including the Women Leadership Development and D,E&I programs are focused on helping organizations tackle serious issues that are negatively affecting organizational growth in the post-pandemic world. They drive actionable insight for corporate leaders to reassess their strategy on investments in reskilling and nurture resilience in the workforce. Also, in terms of drastically speeding up the progress on gender diversity – coaching has proved to be a surefire strategy that is significant for women in the context of the fallout of the pandemic, and is a ‘win-win’ situation for the longevity of organizations. 

 

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

The differential impact of the pandemic has compounded the predicament for women across all economic groups – be it battling on the frontlines, warped distribution of unpaid care, gender exploitation, or an escalated risk of domestic violence. Evidence from disaggregated data essentially reports the impact on the well-being of women at large with irretrievable social and economic consequences. With meager resources available for mitigating gender inequality, the call of the hour is to recalibrate organizational policies and diversify talent with women on the forefront.

We recently discussed the fallout of the pandemic and the exacerbating gender inequality by throwing light on how governments and stakeholders can mainstream policies for a more gender-balanced ecosystem. Essentially, envisioning how the voice of the woman can be more accurately represented is critical for expediting progress towards a gender-equitable workplace. The stark truth that the pandemic has exposed in the context of gender bias is an unprecedented challenge that can be conquered with ‘resilience, courage, adaptability, and collaboration’.

With compelling research on how women-led countries are managing the pandemic more productively, we can see that these nations are a direct reflection of a society that endeavors to drive inclusion and advocate gender parity. Observations on how countries with greater gender parity are managed are indicative of intrinsic feminine characteristics that are largely distinct from the conventional supervisory and controlling influence.

As organizations are striving to apply a gender lens whilst revisiting their policies, it has been observed that women have equal makings of a powerful leadership. The inherent qualities of pragmatism, resilience, and humility are some of the key attributes of a majority of women leaders. Equity in business leadership and across the board not only elevates cultural diversity but also delivers an experience of a profound organizational culture. Rethinking systemic progress to harness the power of all genders is the baseline for diverse leadership in organizations. 

Numly has handpicked some of the key factors that can help drive organizational and behavioral changes to promote gender equity:

  • Re-invent the workplace

With the new normal of how the pandemic is reshaping the workplace, businesses must grow to be more adaptive. The absoluteness of the pandemic has organizations looking to address the experience of the workplace as being ‘outdated’ and are endeavoring to stay on the ball.

  • Re-evaluate core practices 

Fostering practices and policies amongst senior leadership – and not just an individual to drive a shift towards inclusion is imperative. Organizations must combat gender inequality with the cognizance of female talent by introducing a comprehensive and systematic agenda in their best practices. This new realm of leadership ensures active participation of everyone’s intelligence in driving successful business outcomes. 

  • Offer support for new learning and development 

Harness the power of senior women leaders to provide continual engagement for retaining women through developmental and reskilling opportunities. Strategizing a career path with flexible work policies to ensure career advancement is found to have a deep impact on employee retention thereof. 

  • Bolster leaders and managers to foster talent 

The essence of equity at the workplace must begin with leadership development at the core. Mentoring managers and leaders with out-of-the-box coaching tools and training practices can help leverage their role in augmenting the participation of women in the workforce. A consciously led support for women in the selection and promotion processes must be practiced while providing developmental opportunities.

  • Fortify diversity and inclusion beyond gender 

Focusing on a culture where everybody is heard through diversity and inclusion. With inclusion, organizations are bound to achieve diversity as part of a cultural shift. Integrate global diversity into the organizations’ value-proposition by advocating equity as an integral practice. Diversity has been known to generate increased ROI, greater innovation, and elevated levels of employee engagement, productivity, and commitment. Organizational leaders must analyze the connection between their diversity efforts and business objectives.

  • Practice a shift in mindset for a more empathetic workplace

With increasing turnover rates for women employees at workplaces posing a serious threat, it has become imperative for companies to place employee mental health and well-being at the highest priority in the face of the pandemic. Fostering empathy and compassion among employees helps create a feeling of solidarity and delivers a positive experience cycle. Promote women leadership for a gender-balanced environment by leveraging characteristics that involve resilience, courage, adaptability, empathy, collaboration, and cognizance of collective contribution.

Numly continues to recognize the extraordinary contributions made by women, especially in the face of the pandemic – be it in business, civic, and personal lives. However, the rigor of the progress that has been made as indicated in workforce demographics needs to see a sustained effort toward an organically diverse and inclusive workplace. Investing in inclusive leadership to unleash the true capability of diversity is a pivot point for sustained evolution in the workforce – where every leader asks the routine question of whether their actions are perceived as equitable.

Our prepackaged programs including the Women Leadership Development and D,E&I programs are focused on helping organizations increase women’s sense of influence in the workplace. We design coaching and mentoring models that enable businesses to build gender equity that is significant for women in the context of the fallout of the pandemic and is a ‘win-win’ situation for attracting, retaining, and engaging talent.

We also offer a host of reverse mentoring programs for managers that actively engage both men and women employees in creative thinking and innovation-centric strategy for the ‘future-proofing’ of businesses. Numly helps identify the right methods around achieving the central theme – organizational equity by leveraging the art of adaptability, both in thought and action across diverse cultures. 

NumlyEngage is an end-end digital solution model designed to help transform organizations and their people through Peer Coaching and self-development programs. Fortifying women’s voices in leadership by breaking stereotypes and inspiring a change toward a more resilient workforce is the core of our practices.