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Women Leaders Going Through "Great Breakup" with Work

“Women leaders are leaving their companies at the highest rate in years, and the gap between women and men leaders leaving is the largest we’ve ever seen.” LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company just released a new study reflecting data collected from over 333 organizations. They surveyed more than 40,000 employees, broken down into 22,000 women and 18,000 men. They interviewed women of diverse identities, including women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities. The report found that intersectional women, who are diverse in multiple ways, experience even greater discrimination.

In the introduction, the report asserts women are leaving companies in "unprecedented numbers." Why? Because women are more likely to "experience belittling microaggressions, such as having their judgment questioned or being mistaken for someone more junior." Women are doing the heavy work toward supporting employee well-being and fostering inclusion, work that is often unrewarded and unvalued in performance indicators. Women increasingly value work that prioritizes flexibility, employee well-being, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The stakes for companies failing to heed the warnings from this data are high. They risk losing this generation and the next generation of women leaders who are assessing the kind of work-life balance offered by their employers.

The report concludes that women, particularly women of color, continue to be underrepresented in the corporate world. The disparity is even higher in senior leadership. Per the report, "For every 100 men who are promoted from entry-level to managerial positions, only 87 women are promoted, and only 82 women of color are promoted.” Women never catch up. Working remotely, at least some of the time, lessens the microaggressions experienced by women. The report includes recommendations for companies to reverse this trend. Click here to review the report in its entirety, including its recommendations on how to retain women leaders.