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A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, women have made important gains in representation, and especially in senior leadership. But the pandemic continues to take a toll.  

Women are now significantly more burned out — and increasingly more so than men, a new study notes. The McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2021 study on the state of women in corporate America, says that despite the challenges of the pandemic, women’s representation had improved across most of the corporate pipeline at the end of 2020. 

Leslie Tarnacki, SVP of Global Human Resources at WorkForce Software, tells GOBankingRates that recognizing and seeking to reverse the negative effect the pandemic had on women in the workplace is critical — especially right now. 

“More than 800,000 women left the workforce between August and September 2020, and it’s taking time to bring them back,” Tarnacki says. 

She adds, “It’s important for managers to learn more about the circumstances that led to their departure from the workforce and offer solutions that will provide meaningful support to women or the additional flexibility that may be required to become a desirable employer to women whose unmet needs were sufficient to drive them away from their positions.” 

It’s important for a company’s long-term success to make sure women are given the tools they need to succeed in the workplace. 

“Companies can’t truly find solutions or implement practices that provide women with equal opportunities if women aren’t given a seat at the table in the first place,” she says. 

“Organizations must engage women in strategic planning and management initiatives like policy planning to make a difference; by having women heavily involved from the start, their perspectives will be incorporated as planning is occurring.”