COVID-19 lockdowns stall career progressions for women in tech

Almost half of women working in tech believe the effects of COVID-19 have delayed, rather than enhanced, their career prospects, survey finds.

The effect of COVID-19 has, I think we can all agree, been felt throughout the whole world and throughout all faucets of everyday life. From lockdowns to face masks — we’ve all had to make changes to our everyday life.

However, lockdown life was generally predicted to bring about a positive shift in the tech-world for gender equality — by levelling the playing field for women and men in terms of social and family planning. Tradition stereotypes were thought to finally give way.

How the journey towards gender equality progressed during the pandemic

However, not all is what it appears. A new report from Kaspersky shows that around half of women in the tech space believe that the effects of COVID-19 have actually delayed, rather than enhanced, their career progression. Some of the main reasons around this fall down to day-to-day functions such as home schooling and cleaning being a major part but other issues such as adapting working hours around family life also play a huge part.

At the same time the survey conducted revealed that many companies seem to have made a great step towards gender diversity, with seven out of ten women believing that their skills and experience were considered more important than their gender when applying for their first IT or tech role. Also pretty much the same number (69%) of female respondents said that they feel like their opinion would be respected from the very beginning, regardless of their gender.

However, male-majority teams still dominate female-majority teams at an almost 5 to 1 ratio, and 44% of women surveyed still believe that men have a faster career progression in their organizations, then women. The pandemic added homeschooling and other challenges to the equation, resulting in 4 out of 10 women saying that they were held back from pursuing career changes these last months due to family or home pressures.

The impact of the pandemic on the work culture and policies

So what can companies do to make things better for all employees regardless of their gender, who are still having to remote work and also juggle family life? Merici Vinton, Co-Founder and CEO at Ada’s List puts it succinctly: “Companies need to signal, both through culture and policy, that they will give working parents of both genders the flexibility they need during COVID (and beyond).”

With the pandemic still continuing to make irreversible changes on the global economy and also people’s work lives, businesses need to adapt to these changes and provide them with the working environments that feel comfortable for them, so that employees can have a better work-life-balance than they did before, or even feel more efficient (which is now true only for 31% of women surveyed). To do that, organizations need to listen to their employees more and make use of the best practices introduced by others.

To learn more about this and also read the full report, head here.

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