The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to blur the boundaries between work and personal life, increasing stress and making it difficult for employees to remain focused and effective in their jobs. But the pandemic also presented an opportunity to rethink how we work—recognizing that no one single initiative is the solution.
These challenges have disproportionally impacted women, and delayed progress toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). Our 2021 research found that, although DE&I is prioritized across Canadian organizations, there have only been marginal improvements within the talent pipeline.
Despite experiencing even more challenges, 31 percent of women managers provided emotional support to team members, compared with 19 percent of men managers. In order to have a sustainable impact, organizations could enact policies and programs that support women.


of women of colour

have experienced a microaggression at work


of women

report feeling exhausted compared with 34% of men


of employees

do not feel their companies follow through on DE&I commitments

Looking ahead

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact us all, organizations must remain focused on navigating this unprecedented challenge. At the same time, there is an opportunity to drive a fundamental change in the way we work. Our 2021 research has shown that although DE&I is seen as a priority across Canadian organizations, not enough concrete action is being taken to remedy the under-representation of women throughout all levels of the talent pipeline. People of colour—including male employees alike—often experience challenges at higher rates than their white counterparts. In particular, women of colour continue to face even more barriers in the workplace, such as a lower likelihood of being promoted, a higher likelihood of experiencing microaggressions, and less support from male colleagues. Organizations must embark on a holistic change program. They must take accountability for their DE&I commitments and implement the supportive programs and policies that all employees need for equitable access to opportunities in the workplace. Moreover, organizations must establish a foundational environment of inclusion by shifting mindsets and creating a shared understanding that DE&I is beneficial for everyone.

Featured Insights


The state of burnout for women in the workplace

– Women are doing more to support employee well-being but face higher stress levels as a result. Here’s how leaders can help.

Women in the Workplace 2022

– Women leaders are switching jobs at the highest rates we’ve ever seen, and ambitious young women are prepared to do the same. To make meaningful and sustainable progress toward gender equality, companies need to go beyond table stakes. That’s according to the latest Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey, in partnership with LeanIn.Org.
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COVID-19 and gender equality: Countering the regressive effects

– What is good for gender equality is good for the economy and society as well. The COVID-19 pandemic puts that truth into stark relief and raises critically important choices.

Understanding organizational barriers to a more inclusive workplace

– Survey results show that many employees do not feel fully included at work and want their organizations to do more to advance inclusion and diversity. To do so, companies can address four factors.

Diversity wins: How inclusion matters

– The business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is stronger than ever. Taking a closer look at diversity winners reveals what can drive real progress.

Corporate diversity: If you don’t measure it, it won’t get done

– Progress on workplace diversity has been slow and patchy. What will it take to really change the game?
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The future of women at work: Transitions in the age of automation

– Concerted and creative new solutions are needed to enable women to seize new opportunities in the automation age; without them, women may fall further behind in the world of work.
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The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in Canada

– Canada, a global leader on gender equality, has seen progress stall over the past 20 years. Further tapping into women’s potential could reenergize Canada’s economy and its businesses.

Featured Experts

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