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Getting to Equality

Feb 26, 2021

In this week’s episode of In Reality: Lessons from Leaders and Entrepreneurs, John Rebecchi (M.B.A. ’83) interviews Terri Alessi-Miceli, President and CEO of Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island (HIA-LI). HIA-LI “is the recognized voice for business on Long Island and a powerful force and economic engine for regional development” (“Mission/ HIA-LI Initiatives”). Terri started out in sales and worked her way up to managing director. However, she recognizes there is still a discrepancy between the number of women in the workforce and the number of women in leadership positions. Terri believes that mentorship plays a key role in advancing women into these positions in the future. One of the ways HIA-LI helps pave the way to equality is through the Women’s Executive Forum. Terri states “This Women’s Executive Forum provides women business professionals the opportunity to create best practices from the experiences and suggestions of successful women leaders.”

During this time when COVID-19 is disproportionately effecting women in the workforce, it is more important than ever to support women in leadership roles. As reported in Time, Abby Vesoulis writes, Between August and September, 865,000 women dropped out of the labor force, according to a National Women’s Law Center analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics September jobs report. In the same time period, just 216,000 men exited the workforce” (‘If We Had a Panic Button, We’d be Hitting it.’ Women Are Exiting the Labor Force En Masse - And That’s Bad for Everyone). The article reports that this is due to the disappearance of support systems women rely on due to the switch to online schooling for elementary and high school students as well as lack of childcare centers. As a result, women have taken on the responsibility of educating and supporting the children more so then men. Due to the stress of working full-time and taking on the brunt of childcare, women are being forced to leave the workforce, impacting their professional and financial goals. As we have begun to make strides in adjusting the gender age gap and provide women with more opportunities for leadership roles, the pandemic has had negative implications for what has been accomplished. This will have lasting consequences on businesses, and it is more important than ever before that we focus on helping women advance into the “power seats of society” as Rebecchi described in the podcast.

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By Konstance Teleisha