Impact of COVID-19 on women in tech ‘devastating’ says new report

Impact of COVID-19 on women in tech ‘devastating’ says new report

women in tech

A global report published last month has revealed the devastating hit women in tech faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, including startling data that suggests women who work under male bosses have a higher rate of burnout than women working under female bosses. 

The report, which was undertaken by nonprofit Girls in Tech, looked at the ways the NGO’s 40,000 members were coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Adriana Gascoigne, founder and CEO of Girls in Tech, said the study proves women working in the technology sector are burned out from COVID-19.

“The results from our study were abundantly clear,” Gascoigne said. “Organisations must realise this is at crisis level.” 

“We were particularly stunned to learn the impact a supervisor’s gender had on women’s burnout rate,” she added. “We call upon organisations to acknowledge this disparity, dig deeper to better understand the issue and take real, meaningful action toward positive change.”

The study, titled The Tech Workplace for Women in the Pandemic, found that male bosses are the leading cause of burnout for women, despite 93 percent of respondents saying they felt lucky to have a job. 

Sixty-three percent of respondents with male bosses said they felt burnt out, compared to 44 percent of those with female bosses feeling wearied. Eighty-five percent of those respondents who are employees at organisations where executives were men reported burning out, compared to 15 percent of employees at companies where the executive was a woman. 

Almost 3 in 4 respondents with dependents at home said it was difficult to juggle work and home responsibilities, while 4 in 5 of the same cohort said they were burned out.

“Burnout is also connected to the closure of offices, schools, day care, and pretty much everything else in society,” Gascoigne wrote last month in Ms Magazine. “…with the burden of homeschooling a particularly arduous task that disproportionately fell on the shoulders of mothers.” 

“Every household is different in the sharing of responsibilities, but women spend more time than men on childcare, as a caregiver, and on housework,” she continued. “This equates to a part-time job on top of an already 40-hour work week.” 

The study also found that among full-time employees, more than 82 percent expect their employers to make adjustments to meet their needs and seventy-six percent reported that they preferred working from home over working in the office. 

“Perhaps it’s fortunate that many women in the study don’t anticipate returning to the office in-person once pandemic restrictions are lifted,” Gascoigne wrote

The study found that almost 41 percent of respondents said there is racial inequity at their workplace, and more than one in four women reported having been sexually harassed at work.

“We can and should be hopeful that lessons will be learned, but this study is proof that sitting idle won’t reverse the losses of working women over the last year,” Gascoigne explained.

Her NGO, Girls in Tech, is trying to change things with their new four-year campaign with an aim of hitting 50/50 gender parity in tech boardrooms by 2025.

“It’s an ambitious plan” Gascoigne said. “It’s also long overdue and easily achievable for any company willing to make the pledge.” 

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