Ladies and Gentlepeople: The Comeback
Millions of individuals have left the workforce in recent years, and the majority are women.
Surprised? I wasn’t.
Women leaving the workforce isn’t just a pandemic thing. There are myriad reasons that women are more likely than men to put their professional careers on hold, and I got to help my client Light + Fit® launch a “returnship” program in an effort to effect real change. The Comeback is a 6-week paid summer program designed to help re-acquaint participants with the workplace, gain valuable experience and ramp up the next chapter of their careers after an extended break.
This is the first return-to-work program from Danone North America, one of the world’s largest B-Corps, and maker of Light + Fit®. And The Comeback is a real-world way for this inspiring brand to help bridge the gap that may exist for women and other job seekers who left or lost their jobs for a variety of reasons. I got to help bring this program to life from start to finish: writing the website copy, coming up with the website URL name, translating interviews into inspirational women’s stories and helping create packaging for the associated special-edition yogurts.
A little more context…
Working on this important project with Light + Fit® has inspired me too to be a voice in sharing the facts. Here’s the sitch:
PAY AND WEALTH INEQUITY ACROSS GENDERS
When childcare or other demands arise, women are often the first to leave the workforce due to their lower income, earning potential, education status and/or savings.
NO PAID FAMILY LEAVE IN THE U.S.
Our country’s societal and structural norms view women as the primary caregivers and therefore favor men’s roles in the workplace.
Women over-represent workers whose jobs that must be done in-person (not remote). The pandemic caused greater disruption to these types of careers, and therefore greater numbers of women leaving the workplace.
UNEQUAL DIVISION OF UNPAID LABOR BETWEEN PARTNERS
Cooking, cleaning, parenting and other at-home work are often the responsibilities of women, leaving less time to be in the workplace nurturing their careers.
PANDEMIC-SPECIFIC LACK OF CHILDCARE
Though high costs and unexpected closings are always challenging in childcare, COVID-19 brought on a whole new era of uncertainty, which can disproportionately affect women.
It’s important for all of us to be conscious of the challenges women face every day, and it’s even more critical that we work toward action, not apathy.
The Comeback is Light + Fit’s first big step in helping shed light on the situation while also helping women return to work confidently if and when they decide the time is right. Because it’s not just leaving the workplace that’s an issue — it’s also returning. A resume gap of just six months can lead to hiring discrimination1, proving how a career break for any reason can make re-entering the workforce that much more difficult. That’s why I, for one, am so honored to work with a brand that cares enough to lend a helping hand. Danone North America, you’re my hero.
1 The Atlantic, “The Terrifying Reality of Long-Term Unemployment”