Everyone has been affected by the ongoing pandemic in some way and women in the workforce are no different. Many have lost their jobs and are facing obstacles to reentry at up to four times the rate of their male counterparts, according to Verizon. In response, Verizon has been engaged in changing these dynamics that could potentially undo long-term progress for working women.
Included in the company’s latest commitment is launching the Verizon Women’s CoLab, a #WomenOwnWednesday Social Campaign, and a Verizon Business Women’s Leadership Digital Summit.
Ahead of International Women’s Day, the telecommunications giant launched the first in a planned series of social media campaigns aiming to empower and actively support women professionally.
“As we honor International Women’s Day, we must take a stand and declare that women’s careers are not expendable in times of crisis,” wrote Christy Pambianchi, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources at Verizon; Rima Qureshi, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Verizon; and Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business; in a co-written letter on behalf of the Verizon Sisterhood. “And it starts by creating a future of work that works for all women.”
This follows Verizon’s 2020 launch of its Women in Business Initiative, which has already begun providing one-to-one mentorships, panels, and platforms to uplift women’s voices.
Verizon’s new Women’s CoLab is designed to equip women with resources and support systems that they have not had access to in the past to help them succeed, particularly in a digital setting. “Consider it a career engine that will bring together the best-in-class resources and content to empower women to own their careers and realize their greatest ambitions,” the company said in a statement.
Included in the initiative will be free guidance and training from experts on confidence, boldness, and negotiation, as well as ways to connect with other industry women for inspiration and mentorship.
On March 10, Verizon Business kicked off its #WomenOwnWednesday social media campaign, which features female entrepreneurs and business owners giving back to their communities in meaningful ways. The goal of the campaign is to celebrate and actively support women-owned businesses and encourage the rest of society to do the same.
This year, Verizon commissioned a survey by Morning Consult with a representative sample of 2,001 working age women to gain insight into why so many are choosing to voluntarily leave their work and to hear from them on how they can best be supported in continuing or returning to their jobs.
What they found was both a confirmation that the work Verizon has been doing in this space is crucial right now and a wake up call that more must be done. Here are some of the major outcomes, according to the survey:
- Among women surveyed who voluntarily left their work, 68 percent of them say a feeling of burnout or difficulty balancing work and personal responsibilities was an important factor.
- Among women surveyed who are working and married or living with a partner, around 70 percent of them say they do all or most of the cooking, household shopping, and cleaning.
- Among women surveyed who plan to re-enter the workforce, 80 percent of them are very concerned about the economy limiting their opportunities, and 72 percent of them are concerned about difficulties finding a job that matches their skill set.
- Among women surveyed who plan to re-enter the workforce, 59 percent say they cannot afford the training required to remain competitive.
Women’s desired resources:
- 73 percent say that bonuses to cover technology tools would be beneficial, while only 20 percent are currently being offered them.
- 63 percent see childcare services as important, while only 14 percent are offered them.
- 64 percent view mentorship programs among employees as important, yet only 21 percent are offered them.
In the Dallas area specifically, 45 percent of women polled reported a feeling of intensified burnout since the pandemic started, and almost 30 percent are concerned that the pandemic will impact their longterm career goals, according to a spokesperson. Thirty-four percent of the women said that a mentorship program would be valuable as they re-enter the workforce.
Verizon’s three new initiatives target some of these women’s major concerns, including their desire for quality and consistent mentorship, a concentrated space for finding resources, and accessible development training by experts.
“There are women and girls out there with the power and potential to transform our future. If they step back, think about the discoveries never made, ideas never shared and innovations left to gather dust,” Pambianchi, Qureshi, and Erwin wrote. “This is not just a ‘she-cession,’ but a devastating loss of contributions.”
Later this year, Verizon is set to host its first Business Women’s Leadership Digital Summit, which will bring together female leaders and entrepreneurs from across the globe.
“While no one individual can solve the challenges women face today, we are Verizon—a connected network of 130,000+ V Teamers,” Pambianchi, Qureshi, and Erwin wrote. “To all of our V Team women out there—we see you. You are valued. You are enough. You are incredible. And we will move #ForwardTogether.”
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