The coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy hard, but it’s been an especially tortuous road for small businesses. According to data from Alignable published in October 2020, 45% of small businesses were facing a yearend turnover of less than half their pre-COVID numbers. Within this, women – and especially women of color – are navigating a “double-double shift,” as explained by Facebook COO and founder of LeanIn.org Sheryl Sandberg in Business Insider.
Women In the Workplace highlighted this “shift” in their 2020 report: as a direct result of the pandemic, women averaged 20 more hours of caregiving and housework per week than men. For context, that’s the equivalent of half a full-time job — and it’s a disparity that’s had a domino effect. 27% of women-owned businesses were forced to close at the beginning of the pandemic, by comparison to only 20% of businesses run by men.
These numbers are, in part, why Sandberg will embark on a virtual tour of small businesses across the country, beginning this week. “The pandemic has hit small businesses hard – especially women-owned ones,” Sandberg tells Bustle. “For Women’s History Month, I’m celebrating women who have built vibrant small businesses that are still going despite all the challenges.”
Audiences will be able to join Sandberg’s small business tour and sit in on discussions with female entrepreneurs as they negotiate economic recovery post-COVID. Sandberg kicks off the series speaking virtually at The Detroit Economic Club on March 16.
As part of the virtual tour, Sandberg will also publish her first Instagram Guide. “My Instagram Gift Guide features some great women-owned shops that you can support in local communities across the country and world,” she says. The first of Sandberg’s guides spotlights female founders in Detroit, including The Little Flower Soap Co., Pure Detroit, House of Pure Vin, Bon Bon Bon, and Ellis Island Tea, and will be fully shoppable.
As 2021 continues, Sandberg will share additional Guides and Lives spotlighting female founded stores, cafes, brands, and more from cities all across the country. Stay tuned on Instagram for more.