Women have disproportionately been impacted by job loss since the beginning of the pandemic due to school and childcare facilities being closed.
This is a huge obstacle for the workforce and could mean that the progress women have made over the last several decades could be halted.
Moving forward, it is up to companies to implement policies and programs to better support women professionals. This means offering leave of absence, creating return-to-work strategies, being inclusive to those who have pandemic-related resume gaps and implementing reskilling programs.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows certain workers to take up to 12 work weeks off during a 12-month period for family or medical reasons. This has long been criticized due to its limitations and lack of actual support for women and families.
As government policies have remained stagnant in recent years, it’s up to businesses to start allowing longer leave of absences and continue offering them benefits during this time.
Research has found that candidates with resume gaps are seen as unambitious and have a 45% lower chance of getting an interview.
Businesses should eliminate this bias by encouraging women to be open about “the pandemic gap year” on their resumes. Companies should also show that they are committed to bringing women back into the workplace and express that they will not discriminate against those who had to take time off over the past year.