“It’s been said that storms make trees take deeper roots,” said LAN engineer and co-chair of the LAN Women’s Network Beth Bouvier. “If that’s true, working parents and other caregivers must have cavernous roots after the past year.”
Over the past year, working parents have taken on the role of full-time teacher and caregiver while continuing to maintain an unchanged professional workload. As public safety measures forced school and daycare closures, a clear and common story emerged that laid bare an inequitable reality; women have disproportionately shouldered the burden of the most dramatic shift in work life balance dynamics in modern history.
The reasons why this responsibility has fallen primarily on women are systemic and have led to a mass exodus of women from the workplace. Women’s participation in the workforce is down almost 3 percentage points compared to pre pandemic numbers in 2019. In total, nearly 3 million women have left the workforce in the last year. These numbers represent a 33-year low in workplace participation among women.
If there is a silver lining, it is that this discrepancy has put the spotlight on the challenges working parents have always faced and overcome. COVID-19 brought a sense of urgency to topics like accommodating altered schedules, working from home, and many other needed adaptations.
LAN Associates has been unwavering in our support of all our employees who are working parents or primary caregivers to other family members. Our number one goal is to retain and support these talented and valuable employees during this difficult time.
On this International Women’s Day, we would like to take a moment to celebrate the LAN’s Women’s Network. They pushed ahead despite this past year’s challenges and truly made an impact. Their advocacy and advice have been invaluable to LAN as we navigate the necessary accommodations for LAN’s working parents during the pandemic. They have been vital to encouraging professional development, internal networking opportunities, and mentorships, not just among women but across LAN’s full staff of professionals.
We look forward to what the Women’s Network has in store for 2021, including their “First Fridays” program that keeps everyone connected with virtual quarterly sessions, their awareness campaigns including participation in the #ChooseToChallenge and the #IAmRemarkable program, and their continued leadership in LAN’s mentoring and internal resource groups.
The LAN Women’s Network is chaired by Danielle Farrell, Beth Bouvier and Jennifer Mannino, representing architecture, engineering, and marketing respectively. The group led LAN’s celebration of International Women’s Day 2021 with a companywide event.