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Australian workplaces may well have changed permanently as a result of COVID-19. According to Femeconomy founder Jade Collins, there may be a silver lining to the pandemic.
Femeconomy is a national membership organisation that educates and encourages purchasing from female-led brands to support gender equality.
Ms Collins said that through her role with Femeconomy she had witnessed how women had been affected by and were responding to the pandemic.
Ms Collins said she believed women were shouldering the brunt of the economic fallout from COVID-19 and the effects the pandemic had wrought on employment, job security and the workplace.
“I think it [COVID-19] has impacted women more than men. Women’s job security is more tenuous, we know this already,” Ms Collins said.
“Women have been affected both by job losses and reduced hours. And if you’re a woman with a family, that has been compounded by things like home schooling, which I think it has been unseen and an unexpected additional burden of care that predominantly women have taken on.”
Ms Collins said that if there was any ‘silver lining to come from the COVID-19 experience, from a gender equality point of view’, it was that it had enabled more men to work remotely and flexibly and to share the household burden a little more.
From a cultural perspective and from a policy perspective, opportunities in many organisations had now changed, she said.
“As a community, and from a cultural change point of view, perhaps leadership that was more traditional and conservative, and who really relied on that attendance mentality to manage their workforce, has seen how productive people can be working from home and working flexibly.”
Ms Collins said Femeconomy was aware of many female-led businesses that already offered employees many flexibility options.
Femeconomy-approved brands require at least 30% of women on the board of directors or 50% female ownership.
“So many of our business that are female-led already offer flexible or remote working. It’s an integral part of their business,” Ms Collins said.
“In so many of the conversations that I’ve had during this period, it’s been interesting that their workforce has actually required very little adjustment because people were already accessing those benefits and working in that way.
“That’s been a real advantage because it can be a real leadership challenge to get those structures up while you are trying to pivot the business, especially having to do so under duress or having to do so really rapidly,” she said.
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The opinions expressed and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Trustee. No responsibility is taken for the accuracy of any of the information supplied and you should seek advice for your circumstances.