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.