Happy International Women’s Day!
International Women’s Day, formerly known as International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated every March 8th. Dating back to 1909, the movement originated in New York City and was organized by Socialist Party of America. In 2017, the movement is no longer managed by one group in particular. Instead, supported by governments, women’s organizations, corporations, and charities, it brings together women from all over the world as they mark the day with performances, talks, rallies, networking events, conferences, and marches.
The women’s rights movement has come a long way and fought, and won, many significant battles in the fight for equal rights, like winning the right to vote in the early 20th century. Other notable points in the history of women rights include the running of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, who made history as the first female presidential candidate. Clinton spoke at a Girls Inc. luncheon yesterday where she received the non-profit’s 2017 Champion for Girls Award:
“Sometimes the road to progress can feel like it’s two steps forward, one step back, particular when it comes to advancing the rights, opportunities and full participation of women and girls. It can seem discouraging, whether you’ve been on that road for a long time or are just starting out. But think how different the world would be if the people who came before us had not just gotten discouraged, but because of that, had given up.”
However, the fight is not yet over.
Women’s rights continue to be a hot topic of debate even now. From women marching on the White House demanding equal pay to the lack of female education in 3rd world countries, to celebrities being outed on social media as anti-feminist, this topic is as much in the news today as ever.
Here are some of the reasons why women’s rights and equality is still a major topic of discussion around the world in 2017.
Austrailia, a western country with a healthy GDP. You would predict that women have equal access to healthcare – you would be wrong. For many, especially those in rural areas, access to basic healthcare is difficult. Women actually still pay a tax on tampons and family planning laws are not consistent from state to state.
Austrailia is not the only country where healthcare is not equally accessible. Healthcare outcomes for women in developing countries are scary! According to the OECD’s 2014 data, there were still 37.9 deaths per 1000 births in 2014 in India, in Australia 3.4 per 1000. In fact, India’s 2017 figures are worse than those recorded by Austrailia in 1960 – 20.2 deaths per 1000 live births.
Despite significant progress, girls around the world continue to not receive the same level of education as boys. In 2015, an estimated 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013.
“Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest proportion of countries with gender parity: only two out of 35 countries. And South and West Asia has the widest gender gap in its out-of-school population – 80 per cent of its out-of-school girls are unlikely to ever start school compared to 16 per cent of its out-of-school boys. ” – Unicef
The Gender Pay Gap
In the United States, Women on average earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn. This adds up! If the median income for a man working full-time is $50,383 a year, for a woman, it would be $39,621. That a difference of $10,762 or $897 a month.
The disparity in wage has not actually fluctuated much since 2000.
“It does help capture, however, the types of barriers women face at work”, said Katherine Gallagher Robbins, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center. “Those barriers include being paid less for the same work, being overrepresented in low-wage positions, and facing wage penalties for being a mother, especially if they take time out of the workforce.”
Gender is not the only barrier to equal pay. Race and ethnicity also impact the figures. In 2014, African-American women were paid 60 cents for every dollar white men earned, while Hispanic women made only 55 cents, according to NWLC.
Eliminating bias in the workplace is an ongoing battle, not only for the women’s rights movements. Traditionally male-dominated industries are still difficult for women to break into.
Rock Health conducted interesting research into the state of healthcare gender diversity 2016. Here’s a brief summary of what they found:
- Despite women taking up 78% of the healthcare workforce, they are still underrepresented in leadership roles.
- 2015 – the Fortune 500 list include 45 healthcare companies, of which only 11% had either a woman CTO or CIO. 7 of the healthcare companies listed were run by a board made up of at least 25% of women. 9 out of the 10 companies had women holding c-level roles across the departments of technology, information, human resources, marketing, communications, and legal.
- Women make up on average 36% of the executive leadership in the hospitals.
- 37% of the 56 digital health zombie companies 9companies that have not raised more than $2M since 2012) do not have a single woman on their executive team.
- Of the digital health companies founded and funded in 2015, 31% had a woman CEO.
Women have made huge strides in the workplace. It is certainly not all doom and gloom, but there is plenty more to be done. For example, women are still often offered fewer opportunities for promotion in the workplace due to shared family and work commitments.
Gender equality remains a huge topic. Considering the strides we have already made, the future is certainly bright.
Happy International Women’s Day! We look forward to celebrating International Men’s Day on November 19th.