03 November 2020 #Commercial Real Estate
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of how we approach our working lives, with many challenges being identified for female professionals. The Parliamentary Women and Equalities Select Committee have recently commissioned a report, by the University of Huddersfield, on the effect of the lockdown on female workers and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women.
The report found that women have been more than twice as likely as men to experience mental health problems, exacerbated by the challenge of working at home while taking on extra responsibilities such as the role of primary carers.
The report started evolving early in the pandemic. There had been considerable press coverage on issues; for example, older men being more at risk from COVID-19. However, there were also concerns about the indirect impact on women who are traditionally viewed as the primary carer givers.
The report concluded that, as a result, gender equality gains have been dissolved during the pandemic and the findings will be presented to a Parliamentary committee that focuses on inequalities and could influence future legislation designed to contain the pandemic.
The TUC have also carried out research into the impact of the pandemic, and they have found that it has had a disproportionate social and economic impact on women, particularly in relation to childcare. Their research suggests that during the course of the pandemic, women have been taking on 75% more childcare duties and are also 47% more likely to have permanently lost their job or resigned due to the pandemic.
What can employers and third-party organisations do to redress this imbalance?
As a member of Women in Property, I have seen first-hand how we have been working through the pandemic to keep our members engaged; this has been through various incentives such as virtual webinars, virtual social events and continued support through our established nationwide mentoring scheme.
While much has changed in recent years, women still only represent 15% of the property and construction industry workforce. Women in Property have considerable experience in trying to redress gender imbalances and ensure women are supported in the property sector.
Hopefully, with initiatives such as these and the continued education of employers on the need for flexibility for female worker during the pandemic, previous gender equality gains can be re-established, and the lessons learnt can be carried forward.