Powerful Research-driven Platform and Year-Long Programming Initiative to Spotlight and Reverse the Trend of Women Exiting the Workforce Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

NEW YORK, March 5, 2021 – In observance of Women’s History Month, New York Women in Communications (NYWICI), the premier organization for female communications professionals, today announced the launch of #WOMENHEARD, a powerful research-driven platform and call-to-action initiative to address the dramatic departure of women from the workforce at an alarming rate over the last year.

According to a recent study conducted by the National Women’s Law Center, 80% of all workers over the age of 20 who left the workforce in January of 2021 were women. This alarming statistic of women who are now exiting their jobs at 4X the rate of men comes on the heels of a year-long loss for American women of 5 million jobs. More than 2.3 million women have left work entirely, putting women’s participation rate in the labor force at 57%, the lowest it’s been since 1988.

Additionally, women of color have been disproportionately impacted. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Unemployment Data, the jobless rate for Black women ages 20 and over is 25% higher than the national average of all American women in that same age group and for Hispanic women, the rate is just under 50% higher (NBC news, 2020).

“We are committed to investigating the ‘why’ behind these alarming stats that serve as a major wake-up call for our industry and beyond, to stop and listen,” said Ashley Miles, President of NYWICI and CEO of Franklyn West. “Once we understand the ‘why’ and what it means for our industry, together, we can provide actionable tools, resources and open dialogue to help companies bring women back to a much better environment where they can experience growth throughout their careers no matter their talent level, ethnicity, race or age. Ultimately, we need to reimagine the workplace to better serve women, while correcting the disparities that existed pre-Covid,” Miles added.

To serve as the driving force behind the #WOMENHEARD platform, NYWICI is conducting a robust national research study to deep dive into both the communications industry and women across the country to identify how Covid-19 is affecting women, and how their challenges can be addressed to ensure that the strides that have been made over the past decade aren’t reversed, and that the disparity for women of color is also actively addressed. Since the Communications industry serves both consumers nationwide as well as their own employees, this research will serve as a valuable resource to understand the “why” behind the mass exodus of women in the workforce over the past year.

Through robust, proprietary research, including candid conversations with both male and female executives across the communications industry and beyond and a call-to-action for brands to get involved, NYWICI aims to uncover not only the why and nuances behind this trend, but also develop a roadmap to build a more diverse, inclusive and intergenerational workforce of women. NYWICI seeks to identify strategies that leaders can implement within their organizations to retain existing employees, while re-engaging those who have prematurely left the industry as a result of the pandemic to lend support.

NYWICI will use this research to fuel a #WOMENHEARD digital symposium, including a diverse suite of leadership across the communications industry to offer solutions to these findings. The event will be moderated by Miles with guest speakers from major corporations and women who have exited the communications industry to hear their stories first-hand.

“Over the course of the past year, women – particularly women of color – have lost significantly more jobs than men, but that outcome is not inevitable. Now, more than ever, we need this initiative and this research to call attention to this gap, including acknowledging that the gap exists, and by measuring the gap, we can collectively work to address it,” said Vita Harris, NYWICI Chief Programming Officer and Chief Strategy Officer, FCB Global.

Additional #WOMENHEARD programming initiatives include:

  • The #WOMENHEARD podcast will debut this Spring to deep dive into the mission of #WomenHeard and ignite dialogue around these important topics.
  • The annual NYWICI Student Bootcamp which serves as a springboard that supports female students pursuing careers in the communications industry.
  • Ongoing digital events and mentorship initiatives to support mid-level female executives, working mothers and women who are pivoting their careers.
  • The 51st Annual Matrix Awards which will take place in Fall 2021 to celebrate the leaders, visionaries and innovators of the communications industry. NYWICI will conduct a white-paper to be presented at Matrix 2021. This paper will shed additional light on the opportunity for women to reclaim their professional and personal roles and create sustainable growth over a lifetime. Previous Matrix Award recipients include Gloria Steinem, Toni Morrison, Meryl Streep, Anna Wintour, Nora Ephron, Halle Berry, Geena Davis, Gayle King and Padma Lakshmi, to name a few.

NYWICI’s mission is to empower women in the communications field at every career stage to reach their full potential and navigate the ever-changing landscape of communications. NYWICI promotes professional growth and inspires members to achieve and share success by actively encouraging leadership and professional development, as well as networking opportunities that connect women who connect the world.

Companies throughout the communications industry and beyond are encouraged to participate in the #WomenHeard initiative by engaging on a variety of social media platforms while utilizing the following hashtags: #COMPANYNAMEWOMENHEARD (For example: #NYWICIWOMENHEARD). For more information visit

About New York Women in Communications
New York Women in Communications is dedicated to promoting the highest standards throughout the industry and to providing education and leadership for the next generation. Founded in 1929, the not-for-profit association has more than 2,500 members — from senior executives to students and entrepreneurs to young professionals — representing a variety of communications disciplines. NYWICI’s mission is to support women at all levels of their communications careers, to help define the future of communications and stay ahead of the industry’s ever-changing landscape. The organization’s membership encompasses senior executives and other experienced communicators from a wide range of enterprises, as well as young professionals and students. NYWICI empowers women across communications disciplines to reach their full potential by promoting their professional growth, inspiring them to achieve and share their successes and helping them navigate the evolving and converging world of communications. For more information, visit
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Beth Feldman
Beth Feldman Media
T: 917-797-8054


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