The future is female… and remote: How virtual workplaces are rewriting the narrative

COVID-19 gave Lex La Sala the confidence to move into a remote role despite the stigma around working-from-home. Now, she says, we’re in an environment where virtual workplaces are not only the norm but provide grounds for women to thrive.

In early 2020, when Australia saw its worst economic recession since the Great Depression, it was unsurprising that the crisis hit women, young people, and marginalised groups the hardest.

Despite women making up 50.4 per cent of the Australian population, April 2020 saw 8 per cent of women lose their jobs, compared to 4 per cent of their male counterparts. A global report revealed that women’s jobs were 1.8 times more vulnerable to the crisis than men’s and, similarly, Oxfam International reported that the COVID-19 pandemic cost women around the world over $800 billion in lost income and 64 million jobs in 2020.

You don’t have to look too far to understand why.

Women disproportionately make up part-time and casual workers. Globally, we are more likely to work in low-wage and insecure roles and in the industries that have been most affected by lockdowns and closures.

On top of this, women have, for a long time, been universally deemed the “informal” caregiver and the crisis has only exacerbated these pressures. The “she-cession” has been coupled with an emotional burn-out for women bearing the brunt of unpaid caregiving responsibilities around the world.

The barriers have always been there. Gendered social norms have always hindered our professional opportunities. COVID-19 just re-illuminated them on a global stage.

So, when I took a 100 per cent work-from-home role as a director for Fifty Acres in 2020, people around me watched on with bated breath. In this economy?

Prior to being forced to work remotely in the early days of the pandemic, the work-from-home lifestyle came with a particular stigma: flexible working arrangements were never truly flexible, the idea of a strictly remote agency was an unusual thing, and corporate culture still equated dedication with a physical office.

Then something unexpected happened.

Read the full article on Pro Bono News.


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