Women in the Workplace 2021

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About the study

Women in the Workplace1 is the largest study on the state of women in corporate America. In 2015, LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company launched the study to give companies insights and tools to advance gender diversity in the workplace. Between 2015 and 2021, over 750 companies participated in the study, and more than a quarter of a million people were surveyed on their workplace experiences. This year, we collected information from 423 participating organizations employing 12 million people, surveyed more than 65,000 employees, and conducted interviews with women of diverse identities, including women of color,2 LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities. Our 2021 findings focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion on the experiences of women and the state of work more broadly.

INTRODUCTION

The state of women hangs in the balance

A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, women have made important gains in representation, and especially in senior leadership. But the pandemic continues to take a toll. Women are now significantly more burned out—and increasingly more so than men.

Despite this added stress and exhaustion, women are rising to the moment as stronger leaders and taking on the extra work that comes with this: compared to men at the same level, women are doing more to support their teams and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. They are also more likely than men to practice allyship. Yet this critical work is going unrecognized and unrewarded by most companies, and that has concerning implications. Companies risk losing the very leaders they need right now, and it’s hard to imagine organizations navigating the pandemic and building inclusive workplaces if this work isn’t truly prioritized.

There is also a disconnect between companies’ growing commitment to racial equity and the lack of improvement we see in the day-to-day experiences of women of color. Women of color face similar types and relative frequencies of microaggressions as they did two years ago—and they remain far more likely than white women to be on the receiving end of disrespectful and “othering” behavior. And while more white employees see themselves as allies to women of color, they are no more likely than last year to speak out against discrimination, mentor or sponsor women of color, or take other actions to advocate for them.

The impact of the last year and half on women is still far from clear. But the risks to women—and the companies that depend on their leadership—are very real.

Keep reading at: https://leanin.org/women-in-the-workplace-report-2021

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