Unpaid care responsibilities have increased dramatically as COVID-19 has closed schools, overwhelmed health services, and heightened the care needs of older persons—these have both disproportionately burdened women and exposed the fragility of women’s roles in the paid economy.
I shared this article a few months ago which included both worrying statistics but hopeful developments for women in business.
“The disruption was partly down to the number of women doing unpaid work during the pandemic, the report found. During lockdown, women in the UK have done two-thirds more childcare than men. Prior to the pandemic mothers worked 80 per cent of the hours’ fathers did; however, during covid-19 this has dropped to 70 per cent. These figures come just months after research demonstrated that women will be worse off as a result of the economic fallout from Covid-19 – the subject of the Telegraph’s Equality Check campaign, which launched in June.” [Source: The Telegraph]
Although this is a tough time for many, especially those having to put their careers on hold to look after loved ones, statistics show that female led businesses are seeing more investment now than ever and are less likely to lead businesses that fail than their male counterparts.
The reason I share this, despite the disruption last year, ‘the report from the Female Founders Forum, shows that over 60 per cent of female-founded businesses are now operating with minimal disruption to their business.’ This was back in October 2020. To me, this signals hope and this means resilience and strength.
A new ‘normal’ must be fair for all.
Because crises has exposed the structural inequalities that shape our lives, they are also moments of big resets – catalysts for rebuilding societies that offer justice and safety to everyone. They provide a chance to redefine ‘normal’ rather than return to business as usual.
Taking an intersectional feminist approach to the crises of today helps us seize the opportunity to build back better, stronger, resilient, and equal societies.
“COVID-19 has presented us… with a rare opportunity,” says Silliniu Lina Chang, President of the Samoa Victim Support Group, who has been advocating for improved services for victims of domestic violence during the pandemic. “[It is] a time for all of us to reset. Think outside of our comfort zone and look beyond to the neighbour that is in need.” [source: UNwomen]
What can we do in these times to support one another so that together we can get through this? Reach out to your fellow founders and ask how they are. Buy from womxn owned businesses and share them with your network. Be kind to yourself and know that this time won’t last and right now it’s vital you preserve your mental health and well-being so go slow and allow yourself a slower pace of life for a while. Your community isn’t going anywhere and they’ll understand if you need to slow down.
If you’re panicking, slow down, take a step back and breathe. Reach out and ask for help. If you’re feeling anxious, unfollow news reports and stop scrolling – this will do nothing for your mental health or overwhelm! If you’re feeling lost, email someone you trust and set up a zoom chat or virtual coffee date. Remember, you are not alone! Please don’t do this alone. Reach out if you fancy a chat, our DMs are always open and we’re right here beside you💕
Love, Lara xx
Some additional resources:
- How female-founded businesses bucked the trend for resilience throughout the pandemic
- Seven intersectional feminist principles for equitable and actionable COVID-19 data
- Intersectional feminism: what it means and why it matters right now
- The Entrepreneurs Network
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About your author
Lara Sheldrake is a business mentor, consultant and Founder at Found & Flourish. Lara writes and speaks on the topics of entrepreneurship, motherhood and social media for business. She also hosts the Bossing It podcast, aimed at empowering the next generation of female founders in the UK. Send Lara an email. You can also find her on Instagram @Lara_Sheldrake or Twitter @Lara_Sheldrake.
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