Our Collective Perseverance

We close out the year grateful for having survived, solemn for those we have lost, and cautiously optimistic that 2021 will be different.

by Jan Wright, Publisher

In September, McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org released their annual Women in the Workplace report and the results were grim: “One in four women are now considering leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers due to COVID-19.” This likely comes as no surprise, as working mothers are more than three times as likely as fathers to be managing both housework and caregiving during the pandemic.

Our own anecdotal evidence is bolstered by hard data—80 percent of the nearly 1.1 million workers who dropped out of the workforce in September were women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The McKinsey report suggests steps companies can take to turn around this brewing crisis, including recommendations to address the feelings of burnout and being “always on” for work. The complete report can be found at womenintheworkplace.com.

We didn’t have to search long or far to find women in our region who have influenced our daily lives in 2020. Monica Hendrickson has become highly visible as a spokesperson for public health, while campaign signs bearing the names of Rachael Parker and Jodi Hoos dotted yards across Peoria County. As ArtsPartners board president, Mary Jo Papich helped lead the way to shifting in-person events to a virtual platform, while Dr. Sarah de Ramirez served on the OSF Innovation Team that rolled out critical digital health responses to the pandemic.

While each is recognized individually, they are quick to acknowledge the impact and contributions of their fellow team members. None of us do this work alone. In addition to these five strong women, there are many others featured in this issue whose hard work, creativity and perseverance are helping to fulfill their own dreams… and opening the door for others as well.

We’re truly excited about the annual Women of Influence Forum taking place on Wednesday, December 2. In addition to a fantastic lineup of presenters sharing thoughtful advice and perspective, our panel discussion will feature this year’s five Women of Influenc, inspiring you with the wisdom gained from their own life experiences. Please join us! Visit peoriamagazines.com/WOI for details and ticket information.

It’s hard to believe this is our last issue of the year. We close out 2020 grateful for having survived, solemn for those we have lost, and perhaps with a renewed outlook on life. I am cautiously optimistic that 2021 will be different: an unforgettable year of growth for ourselves, our families, our friends and our community. Stay safe, be well and have a wonderful holiday season—even if we have to deviate from tradition this year. PM

Peoria Magazine: December 2020
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