Sixty-two percent of women in the green building industry report the pandemic has negatively affected their workplace equity, according to a recent U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) survey of 500 women.

A majority of women (89%) said they feel significant impacts of inequity, with 67% and 61% feeling familial and professional impacts, respectively, and 37% feeling the effects of financial hardships.

Eighty-six percent of women said employers have made efforts to be more supportive of those juggling work and childcare, but respondents also said women are the ones who bear the brunt of household duties when schools are remote. "The added responsibilities are pushing women to feel as if they must sacrifice their career," a USGBC spokesperson wrote.

Women are putting their careers on the back-burner because they are needed at home, said Taryn Holowka, USGBC senior vice president of marketing, communications and advocacy. Some women at USGBC have even left their jobs due to family demands, Holowka said.

One in four women are contemplating leaving the workforce or "downshifting their careers," with mothers, senior-level women and Black women experiencing especially difficult challenges balancing work and home amid the pandemic, McKinsey & Company reports.

"I feel backed in a corner, to have to either choose between educating my children or striving to remain productive and generate sufficient funds to feel like I am an accomplished woman," one USGBC survey respondent wrote.

The pandemic's effects on gender equity in male-dominated smart city industries could also be particularly harmful. Women account for only 10.3% of the construction industry, for instance, and 16% of the industry's C-level positions, according to a BigRentz report. The architecture industry is also home to significant gender disparities, particularly around perceptions of caregiving roles.

Read the full article about women forced to sacrifice work for caregiving by Cailin Crowe at Smart Cities Dive.