The numbers are in: the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a mass exodus of women from the workforce in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted in early October that approximately 865,000 women left the workforce from August to September alone. By contrast, approximately 216,000 men left the workforce during this period. For purposes of the Bureau’s report, “leaving the workforce” refers to those who are neither working nor actively looking for work. It should come as no surprise that childcare responsibilities are a significant driver of this exodus for both women and men.
In the midst of this seemingly bleak outlook, a bright light: Inc. has released its third-annual Female Founders 100. This list features women of all ages, areas of expertise, backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and experiences that have innovated in nearly every sector—from agriculture to healthcare. What these founders share is the ability to identify a problem to be solved and to tackle it, even in the face of adversity. I encourage anyone looking for a dose of inspiration or contemplating their next move to review the honorees on this list and learn more about the businesses they created. COVID-19 may have temporarily sidelined some working women (and men), but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be looking ahead. It is never too late to get after it.
In spite of the challenges, entrepreneurs continue to do what they do best: improvise, adapt, and make something from nothing.