"It's going to be a disaster."
That's what Natasha Lamb, managing partner at sustainable investment firm Arjuna Capital LLC, said when asked how the pandemic will impact women in the workforce.
In this special episode of ESG Insider, an S&P Global podcast about environmental, social and governance issues, we explore how corporate America is responding to COVID-19 with new policies for employees caring for children and elderly relatives. S&P Global partnered with AARP to research how leave policies are evolving in the U.S. private sector and the potential impact on women in the workforce. In the episode, we unpack that research, which found that the pace of change in leave policies has accelerated rapidly amid the pandemic.
We also hear from women like Lamb who are on the ground balancing childcare, virtual schooling and elder care alongside demanding careers during COVID-19. The episode features interviews with Pamela Sutton-Wallace, an executive at one of the largest hospitals in the U.S.; Microsoft Corp. Corporate Vice President Rani Borkar; and S&P Global Market Intelligence Inc. President Martina Cheung.
"The only certainty now is we need to be flexible," Borkar tells ESG Insider in the episode.
For employees worldwide, the coronavirus crisis is causing a clash of professional and personal responsibilities, and it presents an urgent question for companies that want to retain their talent: How do you create policies that allow employees to balance career and family — both during a pandemic and beyond?
"When the workforce feels supported, they are fiercely loyal and generally more productive," Sutton-Wallace says.