Not too long ago, only a few women served in military positions. Fewer still were at the helm of Fortune 500 companies. Thanks to women’s unrelenting fight for equality starting way back in the 19th century and all through the 20th century to the present, many gender barriers have been shattered. More and more women conquered new ground in areas once dominated by men. As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day (August 26), we ask: Does the current workplace reflect gender equality as well?
More women in the workforce
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, labor force participation rate for women in their prime working age (ages of 25 and 54) hit an all-time high last June, reaching 77.8%. This was the third consecutive month that it hit a record high. The trend was said to be a rebound from the pandemic and a return to the pre-pandemic pace. Women’s labor force participation rates then were rising faster than that of their male counterparts. Contributing to this positive trend were the following:
- Health care and caregiving which are female-dominated industries, were among the fastest-growing industries
- Educational attainment for women rose substantially
- Construction, agriculture, and repair and maintenance, which are traditionally male-dominated fields, have seen a rise in women participation
Data from the US Department of Labor Blog confirms this development. Occupations with a large share of women are clustered in a few occupational groups, especially in healthcare practitioners and technical occupations.
Fight for equality continues
Despite these rosy projections, however, many believe the US still has work to do in achieving gender equality. In its 2020 survey of US adults, the Pew Research Center said 77% point to sexual harassment as a major obstacle to gender equality. Other obstacles include women not having the same legal rights as men (67%), different societal expectations for men and women (66%) and not enough women in positions of power (64%).
To help empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Global Compact developed the Women's Empowerment Principles. Informed by real-life business practices and input gathered from across the globe, the Principles emphasize corporate action to promote gender equality and women's empowerment.
- Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
- Principle 2: Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination
- Principle 3: Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
- Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for women
- Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
- Principle 6: Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
- Principle 7: Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality
As a corporate citizen, Financial Rescue aligns itself with empowering women. By helping them manage their debt, we help women get back on their feet and live life debt free.