The numbers say it all.
In January 2020, women held more than 50 percent of the jobs in the U.S. Then, as COVID-19 swept across the globe with a raging childcare crisis on its hip, 11.5 million women lost their jobs between February and May (compared with 9 million men) and 4 times more women than men dropped out of the labor market between August and September. By the time 140,000 net jobs were lost in December, 100 percent of them belonged to women – specifically, women of color.
Known today as the SHEcession, a term coined in May 2020 by Dr. C. Nicole Mason, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), this recession disproportionately impacting women seemed like it would never end.
But one additional statistic offered a ray of hope, and worldwide beauty brand No7 knew it immediately: Three in five women turn to their female friends and colleagues as their support system. “When I saw that,” remarked Anisha Raghavan, Chief Marketing Officer, Global Brands Americas at Walgreens Boots Alliance, “I knew that No7’s mission to have women help other women could raise awareness and get women back to work.”
“With our 85-year history supporting women in moments when they have been stopped in their tracks, No7 and our partners became passionate about turning the SHEcession into a SHEcovery”– Anisha Raghavan
“We really wanted to walk the talk,” added Raghavan, “and the most meaningful thing we can do now is gather widespread support through the Unstoppable Together campaign and bring change to U.S. women who are struggling.”
The campaign unites trailblazing thought leaders like Arianna Huffington, Maria Shriver, Tamron Hall and Dr. C. Nicole Mason to provide inspiration and practical tips at an upcoming virtual job summit, plus an estimated $100K worth of ongoing free coaching sessions to put those tips to work.
“Unstoppable Together was really great alignment,” agreed IWPR’s Dr. Mason, “given both of our respective missions. No7 has been at the forefront of supporting and empowering women, and this campaign is all about putting women back to work and using our educational resources and other tools to do it. There’s a film, too, with incredibly inspiring stories from women across the country.”
Oh, is there a film.
A jewel of a video, original and female-produced, that captures the SHEcession fallout through raw statistics and real stories that are, in equal parts, shattering and mobilizing. We’ve come too far, it notes, to only come this far. “By the end of the film,” Raghavan said softly, “you realize the magnitude of this issue and you just want to rally together [with others] to join this movement.”
Encouraging women to share the film and news of the summit far and wide, Dr. Mason pointed out that “these inspiring panels will be for everyone…regardless of what’s happening to them. Whether women have lost their jobs, are on the brink of losing them or are looking for a career pivot, these events will make a difference. And that makes me optimistic.”
Optimism – in the face of such hardship? “Yes,” Dr. Mason confirmed.
“I think this [campaign] is a turning point for women in the workforce, and how we think about and value our contributions to the economy. That makes me hopeful. Hopeful for my daughter.”– Dr. C. Nicole Mason
And maybe that is where the hope for a SHEcovery lies – in the path movements like Unstoppable Together are paving. By bringing together women of ambition and accomplishment, women willing to leverage their networks and offer ongoing resources to those in need, a SHEcession sisterhood is formed.
How can the rest of us join?
By knowing the stats.
By attending the summit.
By sharing the film, telling a friend and supporting the women alongside you.
Because when we stand on the shoulders of role model brands and walk with an army of trailblazing women, new and better numbers may emerge.
And we will be truly unstoppable, together.
The Unstoppable Together Summit, in partnerships with FORTUNE, Hello Sunshine and The Female Quotient, will take place on February 24th from 4-8pm EST and is free for all to attend.