Making the invisible barriers women face in the workplace visible

Lorraine Hariton, President & CEO, Catalyst

 IWD 2021

At Catalyst we work with some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to build workplaces that work for women. And since our founding in 1962, we’ve had great success in helping organizations build more inclusive workplaces and accelerate progress for women and everyone in these environments.

But for all our success, we know bias in the workplace remains among the greatest for companies to become truly inclusive. Unfortunately, among the catastrophic job losses for women caused by the pandemic, there’s evidence that remote working environments have also been adversely impacted.

In remote and virtual working, bias is still present, and in some cases, worse than before Covid-19. And once again Catalyst is working to #BiasCorrect by making the invisible barriers women face in the workplace visible.

Our research proves that invisible barriers hold women back, particularly women of color. What inspires people to act are real stories and courageous conversations.

  • Women are twice as likely as men to be primarily responsible for homeschooling their children.
  • 1 in 5 women has recently felt ignored and overlooked by coworkers during video calls, and 1 in 5 working people have witnessed more discrimination at work since the outbreak of Covid-19.
  • 45% of women business leaders say it’s difficult for women to speak up in virtual meetings.

This International Women’s Day, #ChoosetoChallenge to make the invisible barriers women face visible in virtual offices around the world. Employees should choose one of our virtual backgrounds to spark important conversations on how we can all actively work to address unconscious bias in the workplace.

We must all address these “invisible barriers” or risk losing even more women in the workforce. However, if companies focus on creating inclusive remote working environments, then we not only have a chance to keep women in the workforce but also bring back those who left.

Catalyst is proud to be an International Women’s Day charity partner in amplifying all efforts that build equitable, diverse and inclusive workplaces, because workplaces that work for women work for everyone.



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