Women and Leadership – Covid Continued

In an article I posted on May 7, titled “Leadership… and Mother’s Day,” I predicted that, awful as it might sound, Covid will in some ways be good for women. Specifically, I wrote that there are some women for whom Covid will eventually be professionally advantageous.

Most of the reports about how the pandemic has had a great negative impact on working women than men are about women who are not in upper-level management. They are about women who are in the middle and at the bottom of the organizational ladder.

Women higher up, though, are likely to have a different experience – a very different experience. They are likely be advantaged… by the hybrid model that is the future of the American workplace….

Men with power will not now dare challenge women with power on the issue of working remotely. This means that women leaders will feel newly entitled to work from home part of the time and to maintain flexible schedules.

Time has confirmed my prediction. In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Harvard economist Claudia Golden, an expert on women and work, wrote the move back to the office has been slower and more uncertain than many had predicted. But, she went on to add, some changes are already crystal clear.

The new normal will be different from the old. More Americans, especially the more educated ones, will have greater flexibility in both when and where they work….

We will have reduced the price of flexibility, increased the productivity of flexible jobs, enhanced couple equity, and reduced gender inequality.

A silver lining for women? More like gold.  

Goldin does not single out women leaders as special beneficiaries of the changes in how we work. She does, however, write that “the more educated” women, as well as men, are those who will benefit most from the new professional paradigm.

Her point then is the same as mine. It is women at higher levels of management who have the most to gain from our newfound hybrid habits. Given that even women toward the top do significantly more caregiving and housekeeping than men, it is the female of the species who will be the biggest beneficiaries of any changes that ease their work/life balancing act.     

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