In McKinsey’s annual report on women in the workplace they pose this very question.

If women are setting a new standard for leadership, we will explore whether they are receiving acknowledgment for it.

Whilst the report is US based and was taken 18 months into the Covid-19 pandemic, many of the findings chime in with the experiences of women we coach in the UK and globally. Over subsequent years, women have made important gains in representation, and especially in senior leadership. But the pandemic has taken a considerable toll and women are now significantly more burnt out—and increasingly more so than men. Which of us can put our hands up to that fact?

Over the pandemic it’s cited that women have done more to support their teams and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Yet this critical work is going unrecognized and unrewarded by many organisations and that is a concern. It has been found that:

  • Women managers are doing more to support their teams
  • Women leaders are more active champions of DEI
  • The work women leaders are doing drives better outcomes

A worrying gap, which has always been present, appears to be getting wider. That gap is the space between an organisation’s intention when it comes to supporting women in the workplace and the reality that women experience on a day to day. The largest gender bias globally is that towards working mothers. And we see this gap ever widening there also. Maybe as awareness of supporting working parents has grown over recent years in turn our awareness of the gap has grown? Either way the gap is worrying.

‘I really want to stay here, I have worked so hard to get to where I have got to in my career, but now, as a working mum, its feels unsustainable, I don’t know what to do’.

In their study McKinsey report that ‘One in three women say they have considered downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce this year, compared to 1 in 4 who said this a few months into the pandemic’ and ‘4 in 10 women have considered leaving their company or switching jobs—and high employee turnover in recent months suggests that many of them are following through’.

Organisations must continue the positive trajectory that so many are on in continuing to collaborate with working parents about what helps. Companies that don’t recognise and reward leaders’ efforts to support employee well-being are risking flight.

It is vital for organisations to both recognise the extra labour that working parents, particularly mothers, have contributed throughout the pandemic and address the increasing burnout that employees.

In our coaching work we have been developing new tools to address burnout and recognition. Do let us know if you’d like to find out more about how we work .