The Palisades Institute held a Zoom panel discussion on “The Impact of COVID-19 on Women in Business and Its Implications for the Future” on March 10, 2021, as part of its continuing series on the pandemic’s wide-ranging effect on businesses.
Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky, Director of the Business Administration Division at Dominican College and co-moderator of the event, said that the pandemic is creating a so-called “shecession.” “It’s hit women harder than previous recessions. When you look at every previous recession — it’s impacted financial markets; it’s impacted the goods-producing sectors where men have historically held the majority of jobs,” he said. “This pandemic has impacted pretty much the service sector most severely and that’s a sector that’s over-represented by women, so they’ve been hit in a big way there.” Rudolph-Shabinsky added that women have also been forced out of the workforce or had to adjust their work because of caregiving responsibilities for children.
The panelists all agreed that companies and businesses have had to be flexible and responsive to operate successfully through the pandemic. When it comes to lessons we’ve learned, Tammy Jersey, President, TKJ Associates said, “I think one of the most important things that companies have started to do, and need to continue doing, is be open to new ways of operating, which means being willing to be flexible, being willing to hear new ideas and experiment with them, and to remove responses that might have been there in the past, like ‘no,’ and ‘I can’t,’ and ‘but.’”
Other panelists included Susan Gerard, Director, Human Resources, SUEZ North America, and Kate Wysokowski, Regional & Community Affairs Manager, Orange & Rockland.