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Employers must help women working ‘double shift’: Lean In


Before the coronavirus pandemic, many women were already pulling double duty — doing their jobs, then returning home to take on a majority of child care and domestic work. Fast-forward to today, and women still have these responsibilities. Except now, they’re also home-schooling kids and possibly caring for sick or elderly relatives.

And it’s ultimately pushing women to their breaking point, write Lean In co-founders Sheryl Sandberg and Rachel Thomas.

According to surveys conducted in April by LeanIn.org and Survey Monkey, 1 in 4 women say they are currently experiencing severe anxiety with physical symptoms like a racing heartbeat. Only 1 in 10 men say the same. More than half of all women are currently struggling with sleep issues. Women, especially black women, were more likely than men to worry that they wouldn’t be able to pay for essentials in the next few months.

Also, 31% of women with full-time jobs and families say they have more to do than they can possibly handle. Only 13% of working men with families say the same.

In an op-ed, Sandberg and Thomas said survey data revealed women are spending 71 hours every week on housework and caregiving, including the new responsibilities of the pandemic. For women of color and single moms, the demands are even greater.

This is where employers need to step up.  

Only 40% of employees say their companies have taken steps to increase flexibility since the pandemic began, and fewer than 20% say their employer has rearranged priorities or narrowed the scope of their work.

That’s not enough, Sandberg and Thomas write. Leaders and managers should move any deadline that can be moved, take a second look at targets set before the pandemic, rethink the timing of performance reviews and remove low-priority items from the to-do list. Ultimately, leaders need to step up to help their teams avoid burnout and illness.

Read the full op-ed at Fortune.com.

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