In the past year, more than five million women have lost their jobs, either through layoffs or voluntarily leaving the workforce to take care of their families. According to the National Women's Law Center, the hospitality and retail sectors were among the hardest-hit industries. While some of those jobs have been recovered, thousands of women remain out of work.
"It's never going to be an easy choice for a mother to say, 'do I stay home, do I care for my family, my children, and then what about my job?' It's a blend, right? It's always this balancing act that we have to do," said Angeles Valenciano, the chief executive officer for the National Diversity Council.
For 16 years, the National Diversity Council has been hosting a Women in Leadership Symposium to help empower and inspire women to be leaders in their own communities.
"We really want to focus on what are some of those areas where we can take care of not just the work that needs to be done, as women as leaders, but also on the personal side. Self-care is so important because, if we are not healthy if we're not ready, if we are not, you know well-rested... then everything suffers. It is a domino effect," Valenciano said.
Amber Ehrlich is the founder and owner of The Tidy Bungalow, a professional organizing consultant company in Scottsdale. During the pandemic, she's seen first-hand the impact that stress is having on her women clients.
"Now they are a full-time school, they are also working from home and there's absolutely no escape, so everybody's life has really been driven into a little microcosm and everything's being run out of the home and it's just so stressful," Ehrlich said.
She believes the key to success lies in women supporting women.
"It's been vital to have support of fellow women in my industry that are facing the same challenges that I do, and it's also been really great to work with women locally. To just have somebody to ask questions to have their female perspective and to get encouragement day by day, as a new business owner it's just key. It's simply key," said Ehrlich.