Ontario Chamber Network’s latest report offers timely solutions to confront the most pressing challenges currently faced by women
The Milton Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce released, The She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario. This policy brief lays out a path to Ontario’s economic recovery offering practical recommendations to confront both immediate and longer-term challenges faced by women.
“With women’s labour force participation at a record low, decades of progress towards gender equality are at stake,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “This is not only a watershed moment for women but for Ontario’s economy and society more broadly, as women’s participation in the labour market is a precondition to its fulsome economic recovery and future prosperity.”
“The economic impacts of the pandemic were direct and immediate for women in Ontario,” said Scott McCammon, President & CEO of the Milton Chamber of Commerce. “Temporary business shutdowns during the state of emergency most severely affected sectors that predominantly employ women. Restrictions on schools and paid child care facilities have shifted additional hours of unpaid family care onto parents, and this work has largely been taken up by mothers.”
Major takeaways from the report include:
- Leadership and accountability begin with a commitment from stakeholders to set collective targets, reward diversity, include women in decision-making bodies, and apply a gender and diversity lens to their strategies, policies, and programs for recovery.
- Child care requires a short-term strategy to weather the pandemic and longer-term, system-wide reforms to improve accessibility and affordability.
- Workforce development initiatives should focus on defining critical skills, accelerating women’s reskilling, and ensuring their skills are utilized – with a focus on increasing their participation in skilled trade, technology, and engineering roles in fast-growing sectors.
- Entrepreneurship should be understood as a pathway to economic growth, and an inclusive ecosystem is critical to supporting women entrepreneurs.
- Flexible work arrangements are one way to level the playing field for women and improve organizational outcomes.