Bengaluru: The coronavirus pandemic has impeded the global growth on all fronts. The career advancement of women, hindered by gender and economic inequality, is further thwarted by the health crisis at hand.

COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on women entrepreneurs because the outlook for women in the face of this pandemic is devastating.

According to experts, we are currently experiencing the biggest setback in gender equality for a generation and the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be equal for women and men.

Before COVID-19, the World Economic Forum predicted that “at current rates of progress it will take 257 years to close the economic gender gap.” The damage to women's careers is more due to the pandemic as they take on a bigger chunk of responsibilities.

Global Women in PR's latest research conducted by market research agency Opinium in July 2020, supports this further. It suggests that the pace for driving women forward into a more balanced industry has taken a step backwards.

The outcomes of the survey truly showed how difficult it would be to close the gender gap at work places.

·         Two out of three surveyed were of the opinion that will take longer to close the gender pay gap.

·         52% believed that progression will be slow for women reaching leadership positions.

·         45% felt that women will have less job security than men in the PR industry as a direct result of the pandemic.

·         Job security, budget cuts, retaining business, and mental health are few main concerns for women in the PR industry.

This pandemic is having a deep impact on women and is throwing away decades of hard-won battles both in terms of gender equality and women’s economic rights. COVID-19 has seen the burden of unpaid work on women significantly increase around the globe.

Before the pandemic struck, women already faced a century-long wait to reach parity with men, a daunting prospect that now risks becoming further out of reach if the economic disparities unleashed by the crisis are ignored. As the health emergency abates, governments, big business and investors have the opportunity to refocus their attention on previous goals, such as aiming to reach gender equality.

There has also been a sharp rise in gender-based violence as a result of the worldwide lockdown. Women are also more likely to be in informal and low-paid jobs, and millions have lost their livelihoods overnight.

Women entrepreneurs have overcome so many barriers to get their businesses thriving and to overcome poverty. And it is precisely these women that hold the power to face the gigantic task ahead.