Updated: Sep 14, 2022
There is no getting away from the fact that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has meant government is playing a bigger leadership role in the business and corporate world. Not surprisingly, we have seen female politicians coping better with the pandemic than their male counterparts.
With a higher number of women working across a wide range of industries and within the public sector, what is in the female playbook?
Female leadership is different in both style and tone AND more importantly is less competitive than their male counterparts.
As women strive to create more inclusive cultures within corporate settings by continuously challenging traditional diversity policy and practice to increase representation at the top.
The worldwide pandemic has created a new way of working which has slowly eroded presentism and the long-hours culture that dominated corporate and business life.
This culture has always been detrimental to women with inflexible caring responsibilities.
Despite husbands (or partners) also working from home, in many cases women are still having to shoulder the largest share of household chores and childcare duties and is commonly known as the "COVID conundrum".
By embracing a more flexible, hybrid approach to working, women have found this new style of working to be a huge benefit, especially those facing school disruptions and difficulty accessing childcare.
On the downside, now workers are returning to the office in greater numbers, women tied to home working risk seeing their careers stall.
Office interaction and networking is vital to progress in companies, but many women will find themselves on the ‘virtual track’, while those on the ‘physical track’ will see a remarkable difference in their promotional and career opportunities.
It is estimated 54,000 women in the UK lose their jobs every year, simply because they have had a baby according to Working Families.
However, with companies giving express permission to women to say that it's OK to fit their work around their personal life, it is helpful that the government is proposing that people should get the right to flexible working as soon as they start a new job.
It is evident this is how women want to work moving forward, as they've seen a positive impact on their wellbeing and work-life balance.
For mothers, flexible, home working will enable more women to stay in their jobs and careers of choice after having children.
What Next For Female Business Leaders?
At the end of the day, it was not only large businesses who took a hit during the pandemic; it appears women business owners are not feeling confident about the small business agenda in today’s political climate.
Despite the challenges they’ve faced, evidence shows they were more agile when it came to changing their business model; goods or services in order to increase revenue and invest in digital technology with the intention of surviving through (and post) the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interestingly, Black female entrepreneurs are still motivated into going into business for themselves at a higher rate than their male counterparts.
Responses include being "ready to be my own boss” “wanted to pursue my passion” to a “dissatisfaction with corporate life”. The businesses are widely varied by industry e.g. retail; health, beauty, and fitness services; and food and restaurant; construction and contracting.
Finally, it’s not all doom and gloom. Female leaders are hopeful that the pandemic will lead to a lasting change in how the work and run their businesses.