The Lockdown Effect: Could Covid-19 be the Great Equalizer?
I know what you’re thinking. Another article about Covid-19 being the magical solution to inequality, right? Trust, me I understand. But, hear me out…
SPEAKING UP FOR EACH OTHER
My partner and I have worked remotely off and on, in the past and at Seaborn, a leading developer-owner-operator of subsea fiber optics cable systems, for the past 10 years. That being said, we have had similar, but very different experiences. Subsea engineering, while traditionally dominated by middle aged men, is now teeming with many powerful and brilliant women. At Seaborn, we have many women supporting the business who provide insightful observations and hands-on support that enable the business to flourish. We are actively committed to fostering an environment of equality regardless of a person’s sex, race, or gender. We encourage discussions, collaboration, and team spirit that drives each of us to be better each day.
Although we aim to do our best to combat inequality, there is always more work to do and thoughts to consider. I have personally witnessed, before and during the lockdown, women struggling to be heard during conference calls, interrupted, and even blatantly ignored. Many times, it can be extremely uncomfortable and difficult for women to initiate discussions around feelings, mental health, and unique perspectives in the workplace due to fear of being perceived as weak or overly sensitive. While Covid-19 and the lockdown has not changed the feelings around bringing up these sensitive topics, it has definitely made us more aware of these occurrences as everyone is less distracted nowadays. That being said, we should not be afraid or uncomfortable to have these conversations. We should actually look at these occurrences as opportunities to dig deeper and learn more about both our male and female counterparts. We would learn that we are all really the same in many ways. We would learn that we all face disappointments, letdowns, and shattered dreams at some point or another. Although this would not immediately solve the aforementioned issues, it would be a step in the right direction to begin to experience and see each other as equals and equalizers.
What I’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic is that balance is the key to success in business, home, and relationships. I know that the world is experienced differently by each individual and that we are all experiencing quarantine, lockdown, and re-opening in different ways. A lot of us learning to cook more at home, spending more time with our children and spouses, and learning more about ourselves. We are learning to manage without the luxury of dining out a few times a week or having school and after school activities to keep the kids engaged and distracted with activities. Witnessing the world slow down in such a dramatic way can feel almost as if we’re in a time capsule back in time to a modern version of mid-twentieth century! Adapting to this new normal can undoubtedly wreak turmoil on our mental health. Every day, we are finding ourselves having to make difficult decisions in trying to navigate the new world mid-pandemic.
As a working professional, mother, and wife, I am not immune to any of the effects of depression and anxiety. During these times, I have found myself aggressively trying to maintain balance and “looking at the brighter side.” For me, the positives have been things like seeing families and friends give birth and getting to spend the entirety of the first few months of life with their newborns. It’s also been being able to spend more time with my teenager in his last years before college and adulthood. It’s sitting down to dinner with my family to eat a home cooked meal instead of rushing from one event to another. While I do realise that many are suffering right now having lost jobs, benefits, and even their lives, I am constantly asking myself to find the positives and light at such a heart- breaking time in our world. I challenge you to do the same. We must take each day as an opportunity to find the positives and lean into gratitude when things seem too heavy.
Keeping the world connected is the vision of Seaborn. Ensuring that we are all safe, healthy, and enabled to live as freely as possible is a dream of mine. Admittedly, sometimes I worry about what our world will look like when we emerge from lockdown. Who will be missing? What will we have lost or gained as an industry, a society, and world? As a woman in the subsea industry, I am grateful for the opportunity to share these views and to provide solace to those who may feel hopeless and lonely at times by the many challenging moments of each day during this extremely chaotic and unpredictable time. My hope for you is to not experience this darkness alone. Please reach out. I am here, and I hear you. We may not be the same boat, but we are all in this together.