Women On the Rise
September 7, 2017
We, as women, have historically come a long way. We don't live in the same world that our great-grandmothers, grandmothers, or even our mothers grew up in. We've been born into a world that already offers basic civil rights – to vote, own property, reproductive rights and the right to work for equal pay. Yet, there are still great disparities between genders. With some of these rights still up for debate, especially when it comes to reproduction and the workplace, what will it take for us to reach a 50-50 parity?
In the American job force, the gender wage gap has narrowed, and sex segregation has declined. Women make up 50.8 percent of the total population.1 We earn almost 60 percent of undergraduate degrees and 60 percent of all master's degrees.2 We hold 52 percent of all professional-level jobs, contribute $7.6 trillion to GDP, and 42 percent of women are sole or primary breadwinners in their families.3,4
More than ever, women are becoming business owners – there are over 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. today (yay, Everviolet!). In fact, successful women entrepreneurs are not only matching their male counterparts – in several ways, they’re outperforming them.5
This past year has been particularly groundbreaking for women in business, as seen in Forbes' The World's 20 Most Powerful Women in Business and The Fastest-Growing Women Owned Businesses in 2017, however we still only hold 4.6 percent of CEO positions and 14.6 percent of executive positions within the Fortune 500. Female-led businesses make up a mere 30 percent of companies around the world, and not one country has achieved gender equality.6
The economic empowerment of women is one of the most extraordinary revolutions. Due to the amount of change that’s transpired over time, millions of women who were once dependent upon men for their livelihood have taken control of their own financial positions. But getting women into leadership roles is key to continuing this evolution and breaking social norms and stereotypes. The task before us is to educate others about long-held assumptions of masculine vs. feminine qualities, challenge existing (inequitable) power dynamics, raise our children with equal ideologies and teach them to be advocates. We need more female role models to encourage the next generation of women to empower themselves, live a rewarding life and make a difference.
Earlier this year, we experienced never-before-seen unity – men and women, around the world, standing up for women's rights and equality. The Women's March set an all-time record as the largest single-day demonstration in the United States – with people from over 500 cities marching in solidarity. The Washington March drew roughly one half million protesters, and worldwide participation was estimated at 5 million.7
The chant “women’s rights are human rights” resounded far and wide, as we stood together for racial equality, LGBTQ and reproduction rights, and immigration and healthcare reform. It brought to the forefront a deeper voice that, as we celebrate 50 years since the Summer of Love, reminds us of the leaders of the 1960’s and the Civil Rights Movement. Clearly, there is more work to be done. Now is the time to recommit to that spirit, and fight for the change we know is just.
A world that includes more women leaders would be a more balanced world, and it’s up to us to create the change. #beautyofchange
"I am no longer accepting the things that I cannot change, I am changing the things I cannot accept." – Angela Davis