"Today, in virtually every sector of our society, women are making important contributions to the quality of American life. And yet, much still remains to be done." - President Richard Nixon
Proclamation 4236 for Women's Equality Day, 1973
Passed in 1973, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, but was also meant to highlight the continual efforts of women to achieve full equality in every aspect of life, including in the workforce.
At Accurate, we celebrate the evolution of women’s empowerment over the past century, and support ongoing efforts to elevate the equality of all women in the workplace and beyond.
Advancements of Women in the Workplace
In the early 20th century, most women in the US did not work outside the home, and those who did were primarily young and unmarried. However, by the early 1990s, the labor force participation rate of women between the ages of 25 and 54 reached just over 74%.
Women were increasing their education, becoming doctors, lawyers, and professors, which led to the US seeing the earnings gap between sexes begin to close significantly. In 2019, the annual report, Women in the Workplace, acknowledged how “an increasing number of companies are seeing the value of having more women in leadership, and they’re proving that they can make progress on gender diversity. This is an important step in the right direction.”
Current Trends in the Workplace
Women have made great advancements, and we have indeed come a long way. However, statistics show that women continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles and regularly face obstacles in the workplace.
- In 2020, women earn 81 cents for every dollar earned by men, regardless of job type or worker seniority.
- The Fortune 500 now has a record number of female CEOs - 38. This amounts to 7.4%.
- Studies show that women spend more time performing unpaid work, such as childcare and housework, than men, and these unpaid caregiving responsibilities can prevent paid employment opportunities.
Women’s Equality Day: Moving Forward
So how can businesses continue to support the advancement of women, and help eliminate workplace discrepancies?
- Take action. Studies show that over the next five years, one million more women can be added to management roles in corporate America if women are hired and promoted to managerial roles at the same rates as men. Encourage women to pursue management opportunities at every level in your organization.
- Support professional development for all employees. Find training on topics such as inclusion, implicit bias, and diversity, for employees to become more informed on these important issues.
- Offer a flexible work environment. “Companies are better able to retain smart women who have leadership potential if they provide more flexibility,” says author and executive coach Bonnie Marcus. As women play multiple roles, from mothers to breadwinners, flexibility in an organization allows employees to find a balance between their work and home lives.
- Help close the pay gap. Conduct pay equity audits in your organization. Look for inconsistencies between pay rates, and make sure all employees with equal experience and in a similar role are paid the same as their counterparts.
As we celebrate this year’s Women’s Equality Day, in the time of a global pandemic and an uncertain economic climate, let’s take a moment to reflect on the good that is taking place. Women’s contributions and advancements in the workforce continue to accelerate and take shape. Let’s keep the momentum going, and keep promoting change in the workplace.
After all, "the world of the future is in our making. Tomorrow is now.” - Eleanor Roosevelt