Women executives say the pandemic is exacerbating gender bias

This year is hard on working women. They’re losing their jobs and leaving the workforce at higher rates than men. Not to mention school closures are disproportionately creating more work for mothers.

So how are women at the top doing? How do they see the pandemic changing their work?

To find out, Fortune surveyed a group of more than 600 women leaders in our Most Powerful Women (MPW) community. In all, we received 112 responses in September. Among those, 88% work on at least one corporate or nonprofit board and 30% are CEOs. 

Among the women executives surveyed by Fortune, 66% say the pandemic is exacerbating gender bias.

The pandemic is resulting in more childcare work for employed parents—and much of that is falling to mothers. But 57% of women leaders told Fortune that their company is not offering additional child-care resources or paid leave. On the flip side, 43% of them say their employers are expanding benefits for parents. Those companies, according to our survey results, are more likely to be led by a woman CEO.

The pandemic is taking a mental toll on women leaders too. While half of respondents say their mental health hasn’t been negatively impacted, almost 4 in 10 say their mental health has.

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They aren’t alone: A recent Brown University and Boston University study finds mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are soaring during the pandemic.


This is an excerpt from Fortune Analytics, an exclusive newsletter that Fortune Premium subscribers receive as a perk of their subscription. The newsletter shares in-depth research on the most discussed topics in the business world right now. Our findings come from special surveys we run and proprietary data we collect and analyze. Sign up to get the full briefing in your inbox.

More on the most powerful women in business from Fortune:

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  • Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex: “If you listen to what I actually say, it’s not controversial”
  • Magic Leap’s Peggy Johnson: Becoming CEO of a pivoting business doesn’t mean jumping off the “glass cliff”
  • Anita Hill remembers Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “You don’t have to be in the winning column to be powerful”
  • How Tammy Duckworth’s experience with breastfeeding and IVF guides her policy

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