Women continue to dominate the American educational system and also now hold a majority of jobs in the US. When it comes to equal pay, while the headline data is more complicated at the end of the day the data still shows that women are still not paid the same as male workers. And of course when it comes to many other measures of equality in the workforce, politics, and other key stats, women are still not treated equally or given the same opportunities in the US.
Women now hold about 50.04% of jobs in America. They are earning about 57% of bachelor degrees, and there are currently about 29.5 million women in the workforce with a bachelor degree vs. 29.3 million men per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. So women work more jobs and are much more educated than men.
I think the data around employment and educational achievement is astounding and it is great for America. Maybe the positive trends around college education and employment will eventually close the gender gap in America around salaries, political “power”, executive roles and those other metrics. As the US is very lacking.
As an another example of women not having the same advantages in the US, look at politics. The United Kingdom had a female leader in 1979 (Margaret Thatcher); Israel in 1969 (Golda Meir); Iceland had a female leader in 1980; France in 1991, Canada in 2013, Germany in 2005 (Angela Merkel); India in 1966 (Indira Gandhi), and the list goes on and on.
In fact, no less than 59 countries have already had female leaders. The US, zero leaders. That is the case even though females have had higher educational achievement and more college degrees for many years. In fact, the current US Congress is only about 23.7% female. Less than one quarter of Congress are women, and even that terrible metric is still an improvement from the past (as hard that may be to believe).
Looking at wages, the picture is still very discouraging, yet it is a little more complicated. Even though women make up the majority of college degrees, they only make about 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. On the surface, that is horrible. But this is where the data gets a little more complicated for thoughtful, inquisitive people.
As that unacceptable wage gap of 79 cents to the dollar does not account for same positions, titles, experience, and other factors. If you try to look at that wage gap data, saying for example how much does a woman make vs. a male in the same position when all variables are the same in a controlled environment, the wage gap is smaller. It is still unacceptable, but the gap is maybe 90 to 98 cents for every dollar earned by men. The fact is no matter how you measure it, or what data you use, at the end of the day, when all else is equal, females are paid 10 to 25% less than men.
Managerial and executive roles
However even that wage gap is not digging into the situation deep enough. There is another level of complication, and you even need to go further as well. As women just are not giving the same responsibilities, the same executive roles, the same types of jobs, promotions, etc. in a male skewed US. As but one example, women make up less than 25 percent of execute C-level suite positions. Even they they hold the majority of jobs and are much more educated than men, the managerial and corporate leadership roles are not given to women.
As if more women were giving the opportunity to be in those executive or even managerial roles, I strongly believe the pay gaps would be even smaller across the board. And considering women have more educational experience and hold a majority of positions in the US economy (as noted now 50.04% of jobs), that lack of opportunity for women also reflects the discrimination.
Discrimination/gender in equality
The US is way behind in a number of professional aspects and how women are treated when it comes to many other countries in the world. Even they they dominate males when it comes to bachelor and graduate degrees. While females in other countries have it worse in how they are treated (such as women in many emerging market economies such as Saudi Arabia, India, South Korea, etc.) when it comes to developed markets the US is sorely lacking.
My mom was one of those women who had to reenter the workforce and who worked for a lower wage. Was she underpaid way back then or not giving the same career or promotional opportunities? Would she have found it a little easier and maybe even just a little less stressful to pay the bills and provide for her family if the workforce was more fair to females? While it is impossible to say for sure, I strongly suspect that she was underpaid and given much less opportunities than male co-workers. I can only hope this discrimination (Gender equality) will end for current and future generation of hardworking women (whether educated or not) who do everything they can to provide for their family.
After all, females continue to dominate college degrees (females 57% and males 43% is a huge discrepancy) and females now working more jobs than males. That in itself shows their commitment.
In addition, as more and more visibility is brought to these issues, hopefully over time society and the US will change how females are treated in politics, the workforce and everything else. And while the change can never happen fast enough, as long as the trend stays in a positive direction I guess that is better than nothing.