A 2020 Women in the Workplace study from McKinsey and Company found, not surprisingly, that the pandemic has hit working mothers harder than any other group. According to Vox, in August and September of 2020 alone, 865,000 women left work all together and by September of 2020, there were 2.2 million fewer women in the labor force than a year earlier. Let that sink in, moms. We are losing female business owners and employees at an alarming rate. The time to support our fellow female executives is now. As we move into 2021, I’ve written down five easy ways we can all support one another, and surprise, only one of them involves money.
Fund Their Dreams
Ok, this one is easy, but perhaps the most difficult to wrap our arms around with the pandemic still raging. If you have a friend who owns a store, offers a class, sells products online, or has the most awesome Etsy shop you’ve ever come across, this is the year to double down and support these ladies like never before. Throw away your Amazon account password and buy local for birthday presents. Give your Kindle a rest and visit your nearest local bookstore. Double points if you stop in to get the world’s best drip pour before heading to said bookstore. I don’t care what it is, if a female owns it, and she is trying her best to stay afloat this year, fund it.
Support Them on Social
It’s been a tough year for everyone and it makes sense that not all of us can fund our sisters’ dreams with money, so another easy way to provide a virtual cheering section is by propping them up on social media. Most people don’t know there are algorithms behind LinkedIn, Instagram, Tik Tok and other social platforms. When people like, comment and interact with posts, the algorithm boosts that post to a greater audience. While likes are good, comments are better. And if you have the inclination, a personal testimonial on your page, with a tag to her business, can be a lifesaver for female entrepreneurs right now.
It’s ok if you don’t have the need for your girl’s product or service right now, but I’ll bet you have other people in your network who might. Referrals are another way you can spread the love without it costing a penny. Maybe you have a friend who makes macramé plant hangers and you also know a teen girl who is just dying to hang one in her room. Keep your ears open and connect people as often as possible. It will make you feel good and could be the difference between your friend carrying on or closing up shop.
Give Them the Gift of Time
With both parents working at home right now, kids in online school, and the myriad of tasks we take on during the day, moms are disproportionately carrying a higher load this year. (See stats at beginning of this article) Imagine how lucky your friend will feel when you offer to watch her kids for a few hours so she can get extra work done? Or maybe you can help carpool to an event so she can take the afternoon to herself? Acts of service is my personal love language and I know several moms who feel the same way.
Encourage, Encourage, Encourage
A good friend of mine recently asked me if I had an idea for a side gig to help keep her family afloat after a layoff. This woman has a junior in high school and is absolutely brilliant with college applications. She’s helped several people get their children into the right college based on pairing the best school with the needs of each teen. When I suggested she go this route and begin a college consulting service, she admitted she just “does it for fun” and to help family friends. This mama is sitting on a goldmine and doesn’t even know it! Too many of us discount ourselves and play small with the gifts we’ve been given. If you have a friend like mine, encourage her to start that small business. We have all heard too many no’s this last year, let’s promise ourselves to be the reason someone says yes.
As women we can be an incredible lifeline for other female entrepreneurs this year. There are so many different ways we can support and encourage each other. Let’s make 2021 the year we all commit to not only stopping the flood of moms leaving the workforce, but lifting up the beautiful women we are lucky enough to call friends.
About Laurie Halter
Laurie Halter is the owner of the boutique PR Firm, Charisma! Communications and host of the Carearing podcast, where she discusses the balance of rearing families and careers at the same time. She can be found on LinkedIn @LaurieHalter.