What Women Need in a Post Pandemic World on International Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s Day today and nearly a year since the world change in a way we all could never have expected. I have written before about how the government have failed women during this pandemic. Today, when there is a light at the end of the lockdown tunnel and children across England are returning to school; I am thinking about what women need in order to flourish as we start to hopefully say goodbye to a year of endless lockdowns and restrictions.

Firstly let’s look at what women have faced during this pandemic:

The figures are pretty staggering and we need to do more. It has highlighted that gender inequality is still strong. But also gender bias, with women expected to pick up most of the childcare is still deeply routed in society. What do we need to do to tackle this?

This is my wish list of government initiatives and policy that I would like to see happen:

  • Flexible working to be the default, not the exception
  • Greater protection against job loss and redundancy because of parental responsibilities
  • The right to work from home if you can do so
  • Shared parental leave to be encouraged and promoted within business, to remove the stigma of men taking time off for their families
  • Increase paternity leave
  • More work in government, schools, hospitals and society on gender bias
  • Free period products available in the same way contraception is in order to eradicate period poverty
  • All companies to publish salaries by gender to bring accountability for the gender pay gap to tackle disparity
  • Greater mental health funding around the impact of motherhood, childbirth trauma and postnatal depression
  • A public review into domestic abuse, rape laws and defence and prosecution practises
  • Greater support for BAME women, including positive discrimination to encourage social mobility
  • These policies to apply to all women regardless of biological sex at birth
  • Pockets in all women’s clothing!

This is my absolute golden wishlist and I am sure there is something that I have missed here too. To me, 2020 was a clear step backwards in terms of women’s equality and it’s just not good enough. Many women are exhausted, frustrated and have used up all of the energy surviving the juggle of childcare the pandemic brought with it. Let’s rise from this pandemic and make sure we learn the lessons from it and rebalance the world for the better.

What Women Need in a Post Pandemic World on International Women's Day. From flexible working, home working and real transparency on the gender pay gap how to work at working towards gender equality after it took a nose dive during the pandemic.

One thought on “What Women Need in a Post Pandemic World on International Women’s Day

  1. I agree with pretty much all of these. I’m lucky in that I work for a company who can tick off the majority of these ( they don’t publish their gender salaries – I would hope how good they are at the rest with supporting employees, having an all women HR department over the 8 years I’ve worked there, and at supporting diversity in general, that there isn’t a gap based on gender. Given there’s more women than men in the company too, they’d be going against their policies).

    They’ve supported everyone’s mental health through Covid times (we had colleagues who’re trained mental health first aiders even before Covid hit), and have supported those (and continued to pay them) who’ve been unable to work with children at home. Yes it’s increased work for those still able to work, but work has also been dropped, delayed or adjusted to allow for fewer people able to work.

    They allowed flexible working for all even before they legally had to allow people to request it, shared parental leave is more common (one woman, and her husband working elsewhere, did a 3 months working, 3 months off for the year arrangement). There are downsides for the business that not all would be able to cope with though – having so many people working flexibly, as well as having flexi leave, does make it harder to fit in work to deadlines due to having to work around everyone’s different working patterns, so it requires a lot of flexibility in work and people. .

    I’m very grateful for my current company, as I know previous companies (admittedly who would have fallen under key workers being in food), who wouldn’t have been as supportive, however good a company they were.

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