Women in the Workforce

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About a week ago, I was asked to do some research on women’s equity in the workforce for a graphic design project I was working on. As I spent my time researching, I was astounded, to say the least, by my findings. We hear about the gender wage gap and the lack of women in C-Suite positions, but once you dig a little more, you come to find that the issues go much deeper than these two. 

1. Women currently account for only 5% of CEOs at S&P 500 companies. 

I’ll start with this statistic which has been discussed a lot recently. Each time I see this number, I’m more and more shocked. Being an undergraduate at such a large university, I’m constantly surrounded by ambitious and brilliant women who strive to one day become a CEO or found a company. This statistic is clearly not due to a lack of female determination or desire to hold these positions. 

2. 23% of C-suite positions are held by women, and only 4% are held by women of 

color. As someone who dreams of being a top executive for a company someday, this statistic was disheartening to learn. Even more shocking, however, is the disparity between the overall women’s percentage in these positions and women of color’s. The issues that currently face the workforce go much deeper than what we see at the surface. This statistic is truly eye-opening and really sheds light on the depth which inequity reaches in our working culture, and even within our gender. 

3. For every 100 men promoted to manager-level positions, only 79 women are. 

This statistic was enlightening to me because it focuses specifically on the process of being promoted from more entry-level positions to managerial positions. I’ve heard many stories describing the frustrating experience where women see positions that they’ve worked hard for being given to others who may be less suited or fitted for these particular roles. Working can be hard enough, and women should be able to focus solely on their work rather than feeling like they have to put in extra effort to be taken as seriously as their male counterparts. 

4. Full-time working women make 82 cents for every dollar that men make. 

I’ve grown up hearing about the wage gap, but I’ve also grown up hearing arguments against it, such as “It’s because women work less,” or “It’s because some women are stay-at-home moms.” This statistic is incredibly important because it addresses both of these counterarguments really well. These numbers are not “skewed by stay-at-home parents” or women who “just work less than men.” Here, we are looking at the wage difference between women and men who work full-time. And from there, we can see that the gap is pretty staggering. This gap, on average, accounts for nearly a $10,000 difference in yearly salaries between men and women. 

5. Women make up nearly half of the United States workforce. 

I’d like to leave you with this final statistic. As simple as it is, it’s important to recognize 

that problems in gender equity are not issues of women working less than men. They are deeper issues with much more complex social implications. An argument against many of the statistics above that continues to persist is that women simply work less than men. I hope that this over-simplified and frankly incorrect notion is soon dismissed so that everyone can begin looking deeper into the issues that affect so many of us women. 

One Google search and an abundance of research articles later, I’ve learned an immense amount of information on the problems that face the workforce that I will be entering upon graduation. I’ve read about the issues and their counterarguments, I learned that the disparities facing women go much deeper than they seem, and that women of color make up a fraction of the above statistics. My main takeaways from this research are that these problems need to be analyzed more thoroughly than they currently are, and that all people should be made aware of them so we can move towards a more welcoming and opportunistic workforce for all women.

By: Rose Walker