Facebook Issues 2 Reports Examining the Pandemic’s Impact on Women-Owned SMBs

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg shared details from two separate reports that were released Tuesday: the inaugural Survey on Gender Equality at Home, prepared in collaboration with Equal Measures 2030, Ladysmith, UN Women and the World Bank Group, a survey of over 460,000 people on Facebook in more than 200 countries and territories; and the fourth edition of the Global State of Small Business Report, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Bank, which focused on businesses led by women, surveying an additional 25,000 SMBs across more than 50 countries.

Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post early Tuesday, “Many women were already pulling a ‘double shift’ before the pandemic hit—doing their jobs, and then returning to a home where they were responsible for the majority of childcare and domestic work. Research by my foundation, LeanIn.org, earlier this year found that in the U.S., homeschooling kids and caring for sick or elderly relatives during the pandemic is creating a ‘double double shift,’ with women with full-time jobs and families doing an average of 20 hours more caregiving and housework than men. For women of color and single moms, the demands are even greater.”

Findings from the inaugural Survey on Gender Equality at Home included:

  • Over 25% of respondents in most regions reported concerns about having enough food and basic supplies during the pandemic, including more than one-third in Canada and the U.S.
  • Women consistently reported earning less than men and being financially dependent on others, with one-quarter expressing concerns about the future of their jobs and spending more time on unpaid care and domestic work.
  • The majority of respondents believe women and men should have equal opportunities in education, employment and household decision-making.

Findings from the fourth wave of the Global State of Small Business Report include:

  • 23% of women who led businesses said they spend six hours or more per day on domestic responsibilities, versus just 11% of men.
  • SMBs led by women were more likely to report that they were closed than those led by men, even when taking into account factors like size of business, sector and geography.
  • 24% of women business leaders identified caring for household members as an area for further policy support, compared with 18% of male business leaders.

Sandberg said in a statement, “The pandemic has hit small businesses hard, but it has hit female-run businesses and business owners the hardest. Female-led businesses have been more likely to close during the crisis, and many women are juggling long hours just to keep their family and business afloat. To tackle these problems, we need to understand them—and for too long, there has simply been too little data available. We hope these reports, and others like them, can start to fill in the blanks so that meaningful action can be taken to address the imbalances in our societies.”

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