Three Ways the COVID-19 Pandemic has Impacted Women in IT

Three Ways the COVID-19 Pandemic has Impacted Women in IT

While everyone is feeling the effects of the pandemic in some way, there is mounting indication that the impact on women may be particularly severe. Despite being in difficult times, women are more likely to shoulder the weight of home concerns and at the same time, feel pressured to be more productive at work.

With the necessity to keep businesses running during a global pandemic, IT professionals have been under a lot of pressure this year. COVID-19. On the other hand, this has also exacerbated the unequal stress experienced by women in the IT field, jeopardizing careers and undoing over a decade of progress toward gender equality.

According to a 2021 TrustRadius survey of 450 tech professionals, 57 percent of women felt burned out at work this year because of the pandemic, compared to 36 percent of men. An imbalance in additional obligations owing to the pandemic, both at home and at work, has been at the heart of this.

Women leaving IT has a cascading impact

According to a 2020 McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace study, due to the pandemic, one in four women are considering “downshifting” their jobs or leaving the profession entirely. According to McKinsey, this may set women back nearly a decade in the workforce, leaving fewer women in leadership roles or on the path to leadership, reversing years of progress.

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Furthermore, a lack of representation of women in IT, particularly at the leadership level, will only increase burnout.

Let’s take a look at how the pandemic has affected women in IT.

Women in IT are more likely than men to lose their jobs

According to a TrustRadius report from 2020 on the effects of the pandemic on women in tech, the pandemic has resulted in the layoff of 5% of male and 8% of female IT employees. This statistic could be attributable to a variety of circumstances, but the most likely explanation is that in many tech companies, women still have less senior positions as compared to men, and the pandemic has emphasized this issue even more.

COVID-19 puts a greater responsibility on women in terms of childcare

The report also examined the impact of school closures on women in tech, as well as how much of a burden childcare has on women versus men. Women were 1.5 times more likely than men to experience a greater childcare burden, according to the research. While men were not excluded or untouched by childcare obligations, women were ultimately more affected. The pandemic has reawakened the age-old challenge of balancing childcare and work for women, and it has done so in an abrupt and uncompromising manner.

The impact on mental health

As a direct result of the pandemic’s abrupt and unexpected nature, there has been an increase in people suffering from poor mental health. However, evidence suggests that the additional constraints of childcare and employment, as well as the need to maintain a high level of performance at work in order to avoid being laid off, are leading to an increase in poor mental health among women when compared to the general population.

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According to a 2020 study conducted by The Mental Health Foundation that looked into people’s mental health experiences during the coronavirus and lockdown in particular, 58 percent of women reported an increase in anxiety levels compared to 39 percent of men.

The tech industry as a whole must engage in significant change management; programs and initiatives alone will not suffice. Companies must consider employees’ home lives, and provide better resources for balancing work and personal life.

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Prangya Pandab is an Associate Editor with OnDot Media. She is a seasoned journalist with almost seven years of experience in the business news sector. Before joining ODM, she was a journalist with CNBC-TV18 for four years. She also had a brief stint with an infrastructure finance company working for their communications and branding vertical.