The Women’s Fund Engagement Committee, comprised of members of the Advisory Board and community volunteers, were proud to host our first event of 2022: A Community Conversation on the State of Women in the Workforce. The conversation was moderated by Tamara Winfrey-Harris, Vice President of People, Culture and Brand at CICF, and included Miriam Acevedo-Davis, La Plaza Inc.; Julie Petr, Dress for Success; and Debra White, Flanner House, as panelists.

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, women in the workforce have made important gains in representation, but the pandemic continues to take a toll. Women are now significantly more burned out—and increasingly more so than men. In the past year, one in three women has considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their career—a significant increase from one in four in the first few months of the pandemic.*

As Julie Petr says, “some of us had to weather the storm of the pandemic in a yacht and others had to weather the storm on a single small raft.”

This conversation included insight from these incredible leaders about the work they are doing to advance women in the central Indiana community from addressing concerns of racial bias on top of gender disparity and keeping their families–as well as themselves–mentally and physically healthy during a time of uncertainty. We also dove into ways organizations in Indianapolis can lean in to articulating the needs of their clients while also addressing their concerns and empowering women to advocate for themselves, especially women of color who do not have the same privileges as white women when asking for salaries and flexible scheduling.

As a racial reckoning is happening in this country, we felt it important to discuss micro and macro-aggressions, what they mean for women of color specifically, and how to address these concerns as they happen. It is hard to have difficult conversations regarding race when power dynamics are also a factor, but our panelists are working diligently in their organizations and beyond to coach women through these challenging conversations.

We are grateful for our panelists and moderator for the first of many community conversations on behalf of women in central Indiana this year.

Watch the full conversation below:

*2021 McKinsey & Company Women in the Workplace Study