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The 2020 State of the Women

March 31, 2020 marked the last day of Women’s History Month and this year, it was also Equal Pay Day, so it is a good time to reflect and take stock. Instead of focusing on just equal pay, I decided to talk about the state of the women in 2020. Collectively, women have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go holistically, including our mental, physical, and fiscal wellbeing. 

As an executive coach for high-achieving women, many of my clients are breadwinners. I see the effects of having to rise and shine every day, while many are fighting to avoid moral injury, burnout or just feel frustrated, unfulfilled and unappreciated. Here is the state of the women in 2020 based on my experience.  With an emerging COVID-19 pandemic, women are often performing in a work environment that is operating in ‘panic mode’. There is a lot to adjust to daily, and leaders are being called upon in new ways on the front lines in essential industries. She is trying to work-from-home unexpectedly, sit in back-to-back video calls and respond to every email within minutes. She feels like a crisis is brewing every hour. She is working from pre-dawn until long after bedtime, with little downtime or rest. If she has a day off, it is spent organizing resources for the youngest or oldest family members, household chores or trying to catch up on missed sleep. Healthcare workers are facing shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), pending shortages of ventilators, and trying to homeschool due to school closures, all while staying up on the latest news and trying to avoid infection themselves.  

The overall consensus? This is not sustainable! Running all day every day, putting out proverbial fires, searching for adequate supplies (including elusive rolls of toilet paper that have gone missing on store shelves), or being expected to show up at the drop of a dime while your needs and that of the family loom in her mind. Alongside the demands of her profession, she is trying to keep everyone on her team happy and healthy…especially those elders who still want to go to the grocery store or church, despite their high risk of exposure and health risks. All of this combined is where she finds herself wondering where to focus precious time and attention. 

Ladies, the truth is, nobody is coming to save us. If the government rolls out a solution, it wouldn’t feel like it happened soon enough and there is rarely a bailout for women in our tax bracket. Unfortunately, with all the actions we have taken to move the needle forward, we still can’t lean on anybody the way they lean on us.

Yes, we have made huge strides as women. We have an increased presence of women in leadership, 11.6 million women own their own firms, and we are seeing more and more women in STEM. Despite all of the progress we still have quite a way to go. Only 6.6% of Fortune 500 companies CEOs are women, 23.2% of the U.S. House of Representatives are women, there is still a significant pay gap, and women are less likely to take their vacation time for fear of hurting their career trajectory. The current initiatives being made for us are not enough to push us where we need to be or want to be, so it is up to us to bridge the gap together.

“The gender gap in technical professions is wide, but when companies aren’t working to close it, women can take steps to try to change the culture.” – 

So we have a problem…how do we fix it?

Let’s take a minute to look at the snapshot of where we are and think about what needs to happen in order for us to reach our collective and unique goals. First, we can refocus on our mental and physical wellbeing. We can recalibrate and redefine success on our terms. Know the signs of burnout and when you need to make a change, take time to remember your personal values, recognize what is essential and what is just “expected”.  We don’t necessarily need to change our goals, but we can change our approach. Start with getting a new routine, and staying connected to like-minded women using the tools and technology available to us all. 

By this time next year, let’s all pledge that no matter what is happening in the world, we have made progress and have taken NEW steps towards our goal.

I am here to assist with solutions to reach your goals as a high performing woman! If you are ready to start your new approach and create success on your own terms, sign up for our weekly newsletter or schedule a Soar to Excellence ™ Assessment with Dr. Toni today.

Equal Pay Day Resources:
The Economic Status of Women in the States – Data on women’s progress in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States overall. 

Women and the Lifetime Wage Gap Factsheet – How Many Woman Years Does it Take to Equal 40 Man Years?

2020 Equal Pay Days:

Asian-American Women: Feb 11 — $0.90

All Women: March 31 — $0.82 

Black Women: Aug 13 — $0.62 

Native American Women: Oct 1 — $0.57 

Latina Women: Oct. 29 — $0.54 

Moms: June 4 — $0.70 (all moms compared to dads in the U.S.)

*Dates are based on 2019 U.S. Census data on median earnings for full-time, year-round workers. The dollar amount represents how much women earn for each dollar a man earns.

About Dr. Toni A. Haley

Toni A. Haley, MD is a bestselling author, speaker and certified executive coach for high performing women. She is also the founder of Soar to ExcellenceTM Coaching. Dr. Toni is sought after by clients for her 25 years of experience in healthcare, wellness and finance. Her proven strategies have helped hundreds of women break through personal and professional barriers, such as Martyr MindsetTM, Perfectionism, and Imposter Syndrome. Dr. Toni has committed her career to empowering others to achieve greater prosperity and fulfillment beyond success.

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Dr. Toni A. Haley


  1. Tamina McMillan on April 2, 2020 at 7:02 am

    “Ladies, the truth is, nobody is coming to save us.” That punches straight in the gut…but it’s true! We’ve been saving ourselves since the beginning of time. I, too, hope that this time next year, regardless of what’s going on in the world, things WILL be different., better. Thanks for this well-written and well-research piece.

    • Dr. Toni A. Haley on May 27, 2020 at 9:33 am

      Thank you for the positive outlook and feedback, Dr. Tamina McMillan! Things will be different when we take a new approach to age-old problems and prioritize our well being.

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