As businesses emerge from pandemic lockdowns and disruptions, many leaders in AchieveNEXT’s network have discussed how response and recovery have affected their lives and those of their employees and colleagues. Issues of work-life balance, equity, and career management have emerged alongside topics like productivity, workplace safety, and managing growth.
One issue in discussions—and in the broader national conversation—is the evidence that the economic brunt of the pandemic (e.g., job and income loss, stress and burnout) has been disproportionately borne by women, and even more by minority women. There wasn’t so much a recession as a “she-cession,” some have said, reversing gains women have made in the workplace, causing burnout, and driving some women from the workforce.
Coming out of the crisis, it is important for leaders to understand the harm women experienced and to design future work and workplaces to mitigate and prevent it. To explore this topic, AchieveNEXT hosted a virtual roundtable discussion among a dozen female members of the CFO and CHRO Alliances. They represented industries as diverse as chemical refining, automobile sales and repairs, home health care services, biotech and mental healthcare services. The meeting was facilitated by AchieveNEXT’s Robyn Pollack and Christin McClave, and was followed 10 days later by a similar roundtable attended by half a dozen male “allies,” moderated by AchieveNEXT’s Milton Corsey.