With women bearing the brunt of school closures, mass layoffs, and increased care responsibilities as a result of lockdowns, radicalized women at increased risk of COVID exposure as a result of essential worker status, and men reaping the benefits of rapid, technological transformations of the economy—largely amplified by pandemic disruptions—it appears that white, masculine bodies and abilities in the workforce are inoculated against disaster.
- Economic consequences compound existing gender inequities in a way that quantifies who will sink or swim in the months and years to come, as we have seen with the global spread of COVID-19.
- The disproportionate economic impact of COVID on women of color makes intersectional analysis a vital component of the collaborative struggle to remove workplace systems that replicate inequality.
- Pushing boundaries to achieve gender parity in the organization will necessitate a focus on presenteeism in care (and service) work, occupation segregation patterns, accountability structures that engage more women in decision-making processes
Examining how the contemporary workplace has been built and rebuilt to give the “ideal worker” (i.e., a white, able-bodied, heterosexual guy who works full-time) a competitive edge in the business is often discussed (Acker, 1990; Kelly et al., 2010). Among the many works of feminist social scientists who have contributed to organizational analysis, Joan Acker’s conceptualizations of gendered substructures have inspired a generation of industry scholars to better understand how the ideal worker ideology underpins disparities in starting wages (Acker, 1990; England et al., 1996), gendered academic leadership (Ayman & Korabik, 2010), and career advancement (Butkus et al., 2018), occupation segregation (Harrison & Lloyd, 2013) and the gender wage gap (Weissharr & Cabello-Hutt, 2020).