Katherine A. Helm Interviewed by Law.com About Gender Equality in the Age of COVID-19 and Zoom Meetings

May 29, 2020

Dechert IP and Litigation partner Katherine A. (Kassie) Helm, Ph.D. was interviewed in a Law.com article about the COVID-19 pandemic acting as an agent for gender equality. Some women say the lockdown and Zoom meetings are helping to level the playing field for men and women in the workplace. In these meetings, men and women are taking up the same space on a computer screen, and they are quite literally the same size. 

Although men monopolizing air time and speaking over women in these meetings could be a concern, Dr. Helm commented on Zoom etiquette. “People are generally more cautious with etiquette, not to speak over others and gauge the cadence of the group conversation.” She also added that Zoom etiquette “has now attained the status of a must-have skill set.”

These virtual meetings have also helped people humanize one another and share more understanding amongst each other. “People are not just another face on the grid, because we see the real-life environment in which people work – children run by, dogs bark, people make jokes to ease the tension that arises with these distractions,” said Dr. Helm. “Home lives intersect with work lives for everyone, which means we are humanizing each other as we triage the responsibilities of coronavirus life.” 

While the pandemic and Zoom have changed working conditions and are promoting gender equality for the time being, it’s difficult to predict what will happen when the lockdowns have eased and lifted.

Read the article titled “COVID-19: Gender Equality Advocate?

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