Why We Must Continue to Fight For Gender Equality in the United States

In lieu of the current political climate both domestically and internationally, the topic of gender inequality has received much attention. Throughout history, women have suffered discrimination. Despite immense progress, a significant gap still remains. I have recently found myself thinking much more about women’s rights as of late. As I go about my day-to-day activities, I tend to forget about the enormity of the problem. However, there are still countless reasons why we cannot stop focusing our attention on gender inequality.

Here are 4 reasons we must continue to fight for women’s rights. These statistics only highlight the issue at a domestic level. I recognize that gender inequality is truly a global phenomenon, but I feel that skimming over the international problem would not due it justice. Thus, stay tuned for more!

US Gender Inequality Infographic

1. Females are underrepresented in the workforce, while they continue to do more work in the household.

In the US, labor force participation for individuals over the age of 15 years was 69.2% for males and only 57.0% for females in 2014 (United Nations). Women make up a smaller proportion in leadership the higher up the positions get in S&P 500 Companies. At the highest level, only 5.8% of CEOs are female (Catalyst).

Women continue to make less money than males in the workforce. For comparable work, full-time female employees make a mere 77% of their male counterparts. Using this statistics to project into the future, by the time the average female employee reaches the age of 65 years, she would have earned $430,000 less than her male counterparts (Office of the Press Secretary).

At home, women participate in more housework and childcare. On an average day between 2003 and 2015, 50% of women compared to 22% of men did housework. Additionally, 70% of women compared to 43% of men did food preparation or cleanup. In households with young children, women spent more time providing direct childcare than men in a given day (1 hour and 25 minutes a day, respectively (BLS)).

2. Disproportionately less women hold positions of power in the government.

Only about 1 in 5 national government positions are held by females in the United States (United Nations, Statistics Division).

Currently, in 2017, women hold fewer positions than men at all levels (CAWP). Females represent:

  • 21% of US Senators
  • 19.1% of US House Representatives
  • 8% of state governors — that is, only 4 states have female governors in 2017
  • 24.8% of state legislatures
  • 20.7% of city mayors

There are only 4 women governors at this moment in time. Throughout history, we have only had 37 female governors. The first were Nellie Taylor Ross (D-WY) and Mariam “Ma” Ferguson (D-TX) in 1925 (CAWP).

On the bright side, the proportion of females in government has increased by 8.5% over the past 20 years (United Nations, Statistics Division).

3. Women are underrepresented in the STEM fields.

Only 1 in 3 graduate-level degrees in the STEM fields are held by females in the US (United Nations). Only 1 in 4 STEM jobs are held by female in the US. (Department of Commerce).

4. Rape statistics remain startling for women.

In 2010, the prevalence of rape in the United States is 18.3% for women and 1.4% for men. Of those female rape victims, nearly 80% were first raped before age of 25 and 42% before the age of 18 years (CDC).

A significant number of female service members experience sexual trauma. In an analysis of VA provider data, 1 in 5 women reported experiencing sexual trauma while in service compared to 1 in 100 men (National Center for PTSD).

**I would like to make it clear that no sexual harassment or rape is acceptable, no matter the gender of the victim!

Yes, there has been progress in closing the gender gap domestically over the past few decades; however, these statistics prove that we have a long ways to go. I am inspired daily by the news and social media campaigns of men and women fighting to make change. Inspire others. How are you fighting for equality?

Until next time,

P&P ❤

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