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Why my colleague quit her job due to pandemic

Covid-19 and Gender Equality

Photo by Standsome Worklifestyle on Unsplash

Yes, it is unfair…

Yet, another woman off the workforce…and the number continues to grow!

Heartbreaking to see…

Since the great pause in 2020, I have seen many articles floating on how the pandemic is affecting women in the workforce. The reason being the uncontrolled spread of the virus is significantly increasing the burden of unpaid care.

Yes, it is unfair. The domestic burden has been disproportionately carried by women for centuries. With time women were stepping out to work and gradually making a path for themselves. Unfortunately, this pandemic has changed the dynamics of families, especially with young children, reversing all the efforts women have taken to make a name for themselves in the world. This, among other factors, is the reasons women are dropping out or losing jobs greater than average. The lack of systemic solutions to resolve these societal barriers can only go downhill, making women leave the workforce permanently at this alarming rate.

What I didn’t realize is one day, I would lose a friend and a dear colleague of mine, to this debacle. We have been working together for the last 2.5 years sitting in two different countries and time zones! India and United States. We have shared great rapport and connection over this time. She is a Senior person in the firm, who has worked as hard as the male counterparts to reach this position.

But alas!

She made the difficult choice, to quit work to support family demands.

I was witness to her struggles for the last year. They were understated. With two young children of 4 and 7 of age, her energy levels dropped, she felt feeling burnt out, and was losing her peace.

Like a lot of conversation I have had with real-time friends and family, I recall her mentioning to me over our calls — of being exhausted, feeling guilty of not being there for her children when they stayed home due to the schools being shut, and constant struggle to strive and to be working at the pace the firm required her to.

With poor economic growth, women in the workforce crumbled.

For many of these jobs, women depended on school being open in order to work. There is also a section of women leaving because balancing the demands of work all along with remote schooling has become unmanageable. Sitting with children for their online class and at the same time being “available” at work with the same zeal, focus and commitment, seem next to impossible to achieve or strive for!

Undoubtedly, in reality, women take most of the responsibilities of child care. With child care facilities closing due to the pandemic, the option of remaining in the workforce to supplement their partner’s income does not seem like an option anymore.

This enigma is beyond childcare, policies or equality, but how women globally at great length make endless scarifies in their lives, in their careers for others, to make their dreams come to fruition. Stress and anxiety-free working moms is a myth, they are trying best in their power to have it all. A long-overdue solution is far away from reality.

©Shweta, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
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Shweta Shenoy

Shweta Shenoy

Exploring my world one day at a time with joy & passion — via words, books, paints & travel. Making sense of what life means to me on this journey