IBM study says COVID-19 sets back women in the workplace

IBM study says COVID-19 sets back women in the workplace


A new IBM (NYSE: IBM) study reveals that despite heightened awareness of the challenges facing women in the workplace driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, gender equity is still not a top priority for 70% of global businesses.

IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) surveyed business professionals and shares the actions that can help drive bold and sustainable change in business, with learnings from companies who rank gender inclusivity as a top business priority.

The global study ‘Women, leadership, and missed opportunities,' which follows similar research published in 2019, also shows that gender equity may be at a crossroads, with the leadership pipeline for women shrinking.

Fewer women surveyed hold senior vice president, vice president, director and manager roles in 2021 than they did in 2019.

"The data show that many women leaders are experiencing challenges at this moment. If these issues are not addressed more deeply than in prior years, there is a risk of progress backsliding further," said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, global markets, IBM and senior executive sponsor of the IBM Women's Community.

"We should seize creative solutions now and redouble our efforts to make meaningful, lasting change that can help all women reach their full potential."

The study indicates employees surveyed feel fatigue and waning optimism over ineffective programmatic efforts to address gender equity.

According to the study, there are specific steps organisations can take, following the example of First Movers, to help accelerate progress in gender equity in the workplace.

Making gender equity a top-five formal business priority, and creating pathways for women to re-enter the workforce, is one of the ways IBM listed.

The global study, conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value in cooperation with Oxford Economics, surveyed more than 2,600 executives, middle managers and professionals - across 10 industries and nine geographic regions.

Gift this article