For Black Working Women, Covid-19 Has Been a Heavy Burden

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from The Wall Street Journal

Amber Burton and Francesca Fontana | 30 September 2020

Most women are facing challenges during Covid-19, from navigating their careers to balancing work and home responsibilities.

But Black women are more likely than others to consider stepping away from their careers due to the pandemic, according to the Women in the Workplace 2020 study conducted by McKinsey & Co. and

The disease has hit Black Americans hard. They are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as white, non-Hispanic people, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Through early August, 22% of those who died were Black, though only 13% of the U.S. population is.

Black women in the survey of more than 40,000 workers were about three times as likely as men or women overall to say their biggest workplace stress during the pandemic has been grieving the loss of a loved one. They cited concerns about work including health and safety as well.

At the same time, they were less likely to say they felt included in the workplace, and more likely to be uncomfortable sharing their grief with colleagues, the survey shows. “We have a lot weighing on us,” says Keena Wells, a senior recruiter with UnitedHealthcare who is based in Atlanta and has lost multiple family members to Covid-19.

Nearly one in four Black women said they feel they can’t bring their whole selves to work, compared with one in 10 white women. They also are less likely to say they feel supported by their managers.

Ms. Wells says that, despite the losses she and her family have had, she was hesitant to open up to colleagues about her challenges. While she has worked from home for six years, she says this moment feels different. Since the spring, her five children have been at home attending school online.