The real reason women are leaving the workforce

The real reason women are leaving the workforce
Photo by Gerda / Unsplash

I spend a good deal of my time listening to companies and governments talk about supporting women. I have been doing this work for 20 years and I have seen nothing innovative or different being done except for the things that women have done for themselves.

Women are leaving the workforce in droves and it is nothing that an extra sick day is going to fix. (Oh and we are not LEAVING we are starting our own things)

What is actually happening is that over the past several decades' women have been told that if they lean in, work harder, smile bigger and "play the game" they too can win at capitalism.

But in the past 3 years, a new question has emerged and it is this "what if I don't want to play a game that was designed for me to lose."

So let's review what we know

  • Women are paid less by approximately 15% across every industry (that is a minimum and is larger for single mothers, Black women, Indigenous women and disabled women)
  • Women do 2x more work in the home in addition to their full-time jobs than men
  • Women are actively discriminated against for having children, being pregnant, getting older, having grey hair, being a primary caregiver
  • Women have less rights than men (yes read that again - in 2022 in every country in the world - women have less rights than men)

So when we review the above - any regular person would say - why would I sign up to create benefits in a system that is not designed for me? And take it one step further - why would I raise my children to participate in this world?

Women are going to leave this system or they are going to recreate it from the inside out.

How do I know? I left this system.

I have significant disabilities, 3 children and am unable to work full time. I was told more than one time that I was "unemployable." But it only means I am unemployable in THAT system. So we created our own system. One that we have to actively defend from those who refuse to believe what we do is "not the right way"

Moms at Work is a business that does good work. We are remote. All of our team members work part-time, pick up our kids from school, and are able to attend our special needs kids' appointments. We took the week off before school starts because as a team we need this. We exist in our own ecosystem where we are not asked to explain where we were at 2pm because we get more done than companies 6x our size. Why? Because we are working in a system designed for us.

So here is the truth - if you are a company and you want to "increase your diversity" then you need to accept the fact that your workplace is not designed to support most people. Hear that again MOST people do not feel welcome or supported by this system.

So what do you do? How can we change this?

  • Part-time work
  • 4 day a week work weeks
  • Remote work
  • Reimagine shift scheduling (looking at you healthcare)
  • Job sharing
  • Core hours

The world of work is changing because it will be run by women - so either work is going to have change or we will change it for you. This is my goal with the Moms at Work Collective - come and check out our community

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Allison Venditti is a Career Coach, HR Expert, salary negotiation whisperer, and pay transparency and equity advocate. She is the founder of Moms at Work Canada's largest organization committed to helping women earn more money, land better jobs and build community.

Allison was named The Globe and Mail Report on Business Top 50 Changemakers 2022, is a regular speaker and media expert with over 100 interviews in 2021. Find out more about how you can work with us and create change for working women everywhere.