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NOTE: The following was adapted from the February and April 2021 Leadership Connect newsletters.

Last month, I was moved and inspired by our National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, as she delivered her beautiful inauguration poem. One of the sections that particularly stood out to me was:

...but that doesn't mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man…

That last line is particularly relevant for me because representation matters. And organizations can play an important role. 

At Indeed, we’re elevating voices of women of color in our everyday conversations. In a recent company-wide Zoom, our CEO Chris Hyams engaged in a riveting dialogue with an employee who talked about her personal connection to our mission of helping people get jobs, the need to understand the mindset of job seekers around the world, and the importance of kindness and credibility. 

And last year we launched Brave Spaces, an event series in which healthy conversations about the unique experiences of historically marginalized communities can be shared with peers and allies. For example, last June, we held a special fireside chat with experts who spoke on the topic of “Stress and Anxiety of the Black Community during Health and Racial Pandemics.” 

The challenges that working women face

But I’d like to bring the focus here back to women — working women in particular, and their particular challenges during the pandemic. 

In a March 2021 Indeed survey on COVID-19’s impact on working women, 29% of women employed full-time before the pandemic said they’ve since reduced their hours, while 9% left the labor market completely. 

Here’s one clue to what’s going on: According to another Indeed survey, 71% of working mothers say they’re leading their children’s remote schooling.

Working women are sometimes squeezed between caring for children and elderly parents while also working full-time. Others, such as nurses, are essential workers who’ve been on the front lines for over a year. Black and Latina women in particular have been adversely impacted during the pandemic, according to the National Women's Law Center. 

How HR leaders can help

How can we, as HR leaders, help? I have four suggestions:

  1. Take a fresh look at employees’ priorities, goals and deliverables. Instead of focusing on daily to-dos, focus on managing their body of work. 
  2. Encourage all employees — especially working parents — to set a schedule that allows time with their children and enables them to meet deadlines.
  3. Strive to achieve pay equity. Too often, women earn less than men who have the same experience, responsibilities and seniority. Every year, National Equal Pay Day calls attention to this inequity.
  4. Salary transparency is key to achieving pay equity. Consider including base salary ranges in posted job descriptions wherever possible.

As the rate of vaccinations accelerates, schools reopen and the economy picks up, the stress that working women feel may be reduced. But the underlying problems, such as pay inequity, will still need our attention as HR leaders. 

Do you have suggestions for supporting the working women in your organization? If so, please share them with me via Twitter or LinkedIn


Paul E. Wolfe

Paul E. Wolfe serves as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Indeed, with a focus on growing, developing and engaging Indeed’s talent and nurturing the company culture. In this role, Paul oversees a multi-disciplined HR group that includes HR Business Partners, Talent Attraction, Employee Development, Total Rewards, Inclusion, HR Analytics, HR Operations and Employee Experience. Paul sets the talent strategy at Indeed to ensure all current and future business needs are met. He is passionate about creating an environment where the business can thrive and where employees can be their true, authentic selves each day.

Prior to Indeed, Paul served as a vice president and senior vice president of a number of well-known companies, including Match.com, Orbitz, Conde Nast and Ticketmaster. Paul holds a bachelor’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. He lives with his husband and their dogs in New York.