What a year it has been. Over the pandemic, as offices and schools shifted to operating remotely, we saw a complete shake-up in the way we live our lives. Most parents — ourselves included– found themselves sharing an at-home office with their children, while simultaneously managing their kids’ daily schedules, most notably their kids’ online schooling. As a result, many working parents found it nearly impossible to keep up with the demands of their jobs in addition to the needs of their children at home. Feelings of needing to be ‘always on’ with the invisible boundaries of work and home caused stress and anguish and burnout became a very real thing for working parents.
As a female-founded company, we were particularly struck by an article about how women in the workplace were impacted by all of this. We both have two children (ages 8 and 11) and many of our team members also have kids – we knew how we were feeling trying to maintain our ‘Supermom’ statuses and wondered what the stats looked like on a macro level. As edtech founders on a mission to close the 4th grade reading slump, of course we wondered how our kids were being impacted by this disruptive year and beyond.
Here’s what we learned:
- More than 1 in 4 women are contemplating what many would have considered unthinkable: downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely. This is an emergency for corporations as companies risk losing women in leadership—and future women leaders—in addition to unwinding years of progress toward gender diversity. Another article says that over 4 million women left the workforce during the pandemic and Allison Schrager, an economist who closely monitors women’s employment to population ratio, reported “female employment rates slid below 50% for the first time since the 1980s last year.”
- Kids in North America are up to a full year behind in learning and those most impacted are the ones learning to read – the most fundamental skill kids need as they start their learning journey. UNESCO reports “two-thirds of an academic year has been lost on average worldwide due to full or partial [school] closures” with 24 million children and youth at risk of dropping out altogether. Hoot originally set out to close what’s referred to as the 4th grade reading slump, but our mission is very clearly much more than that now.
In September 2020, Accenture (a firm Carly actually worked at as an Analyst when she was just starting out her career!) wanted to think boldly about how to support its working parents. Accenture saw how employees were being negatively impacted and decided to pilot Hoot For Companies with us, delivering Hoot Reading lessons to its employees, fully covered by the firm, and at no cost to them to use.
The results were incredible. Amidst headlines and research saying kids were falling up to a year behind in learning, kids in Accenture’s program were levelling-up 3 to 4 reading levels in just 15 lessons. For parents, their stress about their kids’ learning was mollified and they were able to balance their work schedules and keep their kids busy with an enriching activity when they needed some head’s down time. Check out this video to learn more about their program – it’s worth a watch.
If you think your company might be a good fit for our Hoot For Companies program or you want to learn more, you can head to our site www.hootreading.com/hoot-for-companies and get in touch with our team. Together, we bridge a real gap for working parents and help our kids catch up and keep up after this crazy year. We’d love to chat with you to find out how we can support your organization!
– Carly & Maya