New work-life reality raises equity and inclusion concerns

For the first time in modern history, three of our major social institutions – work, school and family life – are all happening in one physical place: our homes. And that shift may have a greater adverse effect on women according to Shelley Correll, professor of sociology in Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences.

“Even in the best of times, the great majority of employees report experiencing conflict between the demands of work and the demands of family,” said Correll, who is the Michelle Mercer and Bruce Golden Family Professor of Women’s Leadership and director of the VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab. “For heterosexual couples, resolving this conflict is decidedly gendered, with women continuing to perform significantly more housework and childcare, leaving men more time to focus on work.”

To better understand inclusion and equity concerns during the pandemic, Correll and her team recently convened a focus group of 27 leaders from the corporate and nonprofit sectors. “We were interested in understanding how the new work-family arrangements occasioned by the pandemic are affecting employees and what organizations are doing to support their employees during these challenging times,” she said.

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