As we look back at Women’s History Month, it’s important to reflect on the many challenges that women in our profession have had to overcome over the years.
More recently, women were impacted the most when it came to global job loss throughout the pandemic. Additionally, working women took on three times the amount of child care as men during the pandemic. Even though we are making progress, these numbers highlight that the expectations from working women are high and often unattainable.
The challenges from the pandemic are some of the most recent examples of issues that working women have to deal with; it’s a long way from being the first. Take, for instance, the fact that 86 percent of women in the workforce are working mothers at some point during their careers, which creates its own set of obstacles often not addressed by employers or felt by male counterparts. Women are often expected to put their careers on hold when growing a family. That reality is starting to change as more women move into leadership roles and prove that women can lead organizations and families and can thrive at doing both.
Even with the unlevel playing field, research shows that organizations with women leaders outperform those dominated by men proving that old stereotypes and beliefs are not accurate. There isn’t any reason why a powerful CEO should not be able to leave work early to pick up their child from school. While we, as a profession, might not be able to solve the inequality between men and women in the home, we can start by defining equal expectations in the workplace.
As the fight for gender equality continues, we can look to tech pioneers like Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer. Her research helped bring to life the first modern computer in the 1940s. Ada was born in 1815 when women had a very different set of expectations than what we know today. Her contributions helped paved the way for the modern world. And the contributions that modern women are making will be felt for generations to come.
Women are redefining what the future of work will look like. And it doesn’t stop at gender equality. Many incredible modern-day heroes like Cleo Kambugu are helping to drive change for an equal post-pandemic world for everyone.
While Women’s History Month is an excellent time for reflection — the drive for change is happening every day. We can look to the past for inspiration, the present for motivation and the future for hope.
In her 10-plus years as a communications professional, Emma Wolfe has harnessed her ability to think critically about clients’ pains and objectives, and strategically lead them toward business success. As Kite Hill PR’s vice president, Wolfe has led successful PR programs and financial communications efforts for leading brands across the B2B tech, ESG and consumer industries[Photo credit: drazen]