With one in every four women considering exiting the workforce and the pandemic expanding the economic gender divide, there is little doubt about the global pandemic’s outsize impact on women’s lives. “Women around the world have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has heightened inequalities – both at work and at home – that women face daily,” according to McKinsey’s report on the “harm the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought” on women’s employment.
With the pandemic deepening existing inequities and fueling an economic disruption in women’s lives seldom experienced before, what can be done to spark needed change? In the wake of this year’s International Women’s Day which is shining a spotlight on the unequal impact of the COVID-19 crisis on women – from their finances to their employment and beyond – financial institutions are stepping up with some support.
JP Morgan Chase is laser-focused on women’s financial issues and providing guidance and programs to help. In an ongoing series of stories like “How COVID Is Targeting Women… And What Your Household Can Do About It,” the financial services giant is balancing information and insights with actionable counsel. From budgeting to borrowing, the banking leader isn’t sugar-coating it, either. Sharing stats about financial inequality like real-world data on the wealth gap, Chase speaks directly to women’s concerns, empowering them in their defining role as CFO of their households.
Addressing the intersection of gender and racial inequality, Goldman Sachs is partnering with Black women-led organizations and making the largest-ever investment in Black women over the next ten years. CEO David Solomon says, “Given all that’s happened over the course of the last year, we’ve done a lot of talking at the firm – and even more listening – to help us figure out how we can do more to end the racial inequity…” With a decade-long commitment, the FI is providing resources and infrastructure, but not taking the spotlight, instead of letting Black leaders lead.
The One Million Black Women initiative grew out of “extensive research demonstrating that Black women are indeed the best financial investment.” Margaret Anadu, global head of sustainability and impact at Goldman, who became the company’s youngest female Black partner at 37, says, “The real legacy of this is that we create a framework that goes far beyond the walls of Goldman.” Focused on narrowing opportunity gaps for Black women, the program will help reduce economic barriers to growth, driving economic impacts across the entire U.S. economy.
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Image Source: Essence, March 2021