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Women and invisible work: It’s time to be seen and paid

Due to the pandemic, the US currently has the lowest level of female workforce participation since 1988. However, another problem known as "invisible labor in the workplace" is a factor, and it's getting worse.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, the U.S. currently has the lowest level of female workforce participation since 1988. While the pandemic has been a factor, another problem is invisible labor in the workplace and since the start of the pandemic, it’s getting worse.

When it comes to your job, there’s work you can see -- and then there’s invisible work.

In simple terms, invisible labor is work you do that you don’t get paid or recognized for. Research is showing women are doing the brunt of it, and it’s leading to burnout.

Around the world, women perform three out of every four hours of unpaid labor. A recent report on women in the workplace also found female managers are more likely than males to help employees with work-life challenges and provide emotional support. They’re also more apt to advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. But this invisible work can take its toll.

Compared to men, women leaders are more stressed and exhausted at work and almost 40% have considered downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce altogether.

Experts say it’s important to speak up and let your supervisor know about the extra work you’re taking on and create a plan to make this invisible work visible and get recognized for it. Delegate any tasks you can and reach out before you burn out.

Various studies have shown this phenomenon also happens at home. Women are more likely than men to take on invisible household responsibilities that they don’t get paid or recognized for.