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Impact of COVID-19 on Corporate Mothers

Survey conducted by WISE Board Member Janelle Metzger

COVID is harshly impacting us all. However, different people and populations are experiencing uniquely severe issues. With the need to slow the curve, schools across the globe have been closed and businesses temporarily shuttered as many corporations have sent their entire workforce home. Compliance with social and business activity restrictions, social distancing and sheltering in, has cut off support for working parents everywhere, yet corporations are consistently attempting a “business as usual” mode.

A high-impact societal and corporate challenge is beginning to emerge as the crisis is evolving: Working professional mothers are encountering disproportionate consequences. In fact, The New York Times recently published an article citing a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation that revealed parents of children under age 18 are “disproportionately more worried about someone in their family getting sick” and “disproportionately more likely to say their lives have been disrupted by the outbreak.” Among parents facing school or daycare closures, “two-thirds say their life has been disrupted.”

Among the key survey findings:

  • 62% of corporate mothers are now the primary childcare provider for their child(ren).

  • 8% of the households have partners that share childcare responsibilities - This is the key driver of decreased sentiment towards work/family balance, indicating that working mothers are taking the lion’s share of the burden.

  • 81% of the corporate mothers previously working in an office, now working at home - This reflects the great shift in working conditions. However, there is no indication that this is the driver to decreased sentiment.

  • Corporate mothers are most concerned about meeting their home and work demands as well as meeting their children’s needs.

  • Corporations can best support them by providing meaningful flexibility and adjusting expectations based on their current circumstances.

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