RT Vol XXI Ch 7: Balancing Personal, Social and Professional Capital: The Strategic Influence of Women in Leadership During the Pandemic
From the Book: The Refractive Thinker®: Vol. XXI: Work Life Balance: Effective Strategies to Enhance Personal and Professional Success


The aftermath of the ongoing precipitous 2020 pandemic has disproportionately affected women financially and economically, thereby resetting decades of hard-won gender equality gains. Women account for 53.8% of net job loss; nearly 3 million women have dropped out of the workforce, and more women are considering leaving their jobs. Those still in the workforce feel overworked and struggle to balance personal, social, and professional obligations, consequently, making work-life balance a challenge. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges that women experience, nor is there a single universal benchmark for women's leadership development. Nonetheless, global researchers and organizational development (OD) practitioners suggested increasing inclusive efforts on the development, empowerment, and retention of women across all leadership levels to combat the aftermath of C***** and pre-C***** challenges. To gain further insights into how women can successfully balance personal, social, and professional obligations in the current pandemic era, we interviewed 10 women in director-level leadership positions across different industries. Through interview data and scholarly research, the following themes were generated: confidence, executive coaching, accountability, strategic risk, resilience, social support, emotional wellbeing, self-care, and self-compassion. The refractive message is clear; creating comprehensive family-friendly policies, prioritizing wellbeing, and enforcing work-life boundaries are not just a C*****-related matter but an urgent necessity. Post-C***** survival and success demands leveraging leadership diversity for higher profitability, employee engagement, and superior value creation.