Responsibilities at work and at home have exponentially increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the burden is disproportionately impacting women, according to a report by consultancy firm Deloitte.
According to the Deloitte Global report, "Women @ Work: A global outlook," released on Wednesday, heightened workloads and household responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic are having devastating effects on working women, as 51 per cent of those surveyed are less optimistic about their career prospects.
The report represented views of 5,000 women across 10 countries, including 500 respondents from India, said that women's job satisfaction and mental wellbeing have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
"The last year has been a 'perfect storm for many women facing increased workloads and greater responsibilities at home, a blurring of the boundaries between the two, and continued experiences of non-inclusive behaviors at work," says Emma Codd, Deloitte Global Inclusion Leader.
Nearly 7 in 10 (69 per cent) women in India rated their job satisfaction as good or extremely good pre-COVID-19. However, at present, only 28 per cent of women said the same, representing a sharp decreased from before the pandemic.
Nearly 6 in 10 (57 per cent) women in India said their career is not progressing as fast as they would like, much higher than the global average of 42 per cent.
Further, women in India are less hopeful about their career paths now than before the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 6 in 10 Indian women said they feel less optimistic about their career prospects now than before the pandemic, compared to 51 per cent of the global sample.
"Instituting policies is no longer enough to change the experience of women colleagues, the "ways of working" needs to change to support this. Executive teams have an important responsibility in addressing this. Leaders need to strongly foster an environment where flexibility in work hours is welcomed and boundaries around work hours are respected for all employees," said Mohinish Sinha, Partner, and Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Deloitte India.
According to the report, more than a quarter (26 per cent) of Indian women are considering leaving the workforce altogether, compared to 23 per cent globally.
"These women cite an increase in workload and caregiving responsibilities as the main drivers behind considering leaving the workforce. These reasons and relative percentages mirror the global averages," the report said.
A small number of Indian employers are providing enough resources to women during the pandemic. Indian employers are providing more paid maternity leave.
"Indian organisations are less likely to have implemented formal mentorship programmes for women (17 per cent vs 22 per cent globally), development opportunities for women (16 per cent vs 22 per cent globally), and gender targets for promotions (15 per cent vs 19 per cent) globally.
Moreover, only 38 per cent have a clear process for reporting discrimination and harassment.
Between November 2020 and March 2021, Deloitte Global conducted a survey of 5,000 women in 10 countries to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women's personal and professional lives.