COVID hit women hard. How your company can hit back


The economic recovery will depend on women and what businesses can do to attract and retain them. Grant Thornton Chief Economist Diane Swonk spoke with Uche Enemchukwu, a benefits attorney and partner at Nelu Diversified Consulting Solutions who works with a broad range of employers on benefits plan and diversity issues, about employment inequalities by gender, including the continuing gender pay gap.

Median women’s earnings are only about 80% of men’s; over a lifetime, this adds up to $900,000 in lost earnings. During the pandemic, school and daycare closings added to the traditional childcare penalty that women suffer. Even high-wage women suffer a “mommy penalty” when having to choose between competing professional and family demands. The economic impacts have been especially severe for women of color.

Why should your organization care? Swonk and Enemchukwu discussed several reasons. Businesses are competing for a shrinking labor pool. Birthrates and immigration are down, and baby boomers are retiring. Employers can’t afford to miss out on half the labor market. And diversity, equity and inclusion issues aren’t just PR anymore. How you treat women, both as employees and as customers, is increasingly transparent to the marketplace. A good reputation means better employees, marketing, social capital and bottom lines.

Listen to the full conversation or the individual segments to learn more about what makes a more equitable company a more profitable company.



Chapter 1: Why ending gender bias means a better economy for everyone

Chapter 2: Why COVID hit women harder and what to do about it

Chapter 3: Equity, transparency and intention—how your business can work to end gender bias

From lockdown to slowdown, COVID 19 intensified deep inequities in the economy. To move ahead, smart companies are embracing a diverse and inclusive labor force that mirrors their customers, communities and employees. Equality and diversity are not just good policy but also good business.

Too often, these issues are viewed through a divisive political lens. But the economics of the issue are both clear and compelling — the more inclusive the economy, the faster it grows. It isn’t a zero-sum game. Building an economy that works for each of us means an economy that provides more for all of us.

Where to start? From housing to employment to healthcare and across a variety of other interconnected dimensions, listen in as our chief economist Diane Swonk and her guests explore how your company can drive equality and growth in our Economics of Diversity podcast series.






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