Women have made serious strides leading up to 2020. But, despite the promising progress that's been made thus far, there's still significant work to be done. Here are six seriously disconcerting statistics we should be talking about this Women's History Month.
1. Less than 10% of CEOs at S&P 500 companies are women.
Women make up more than half of the US workforce and, yet, the number of women CEOs at S&P 500 companies is incredibly meager... and it's declining. In 2017, women made up 6.4 percent of the companies on the list, that number is now down to 5.8 percent.
2. Less than a quarter of members of Congress are women.
As of January 2020, there are 101 women in the U.S. House of Representatives, excluding four female territorial delegates. This means that women make up just 23.2% of the total of U.S. Representatives.
Sure, it's encouraging that this number is up from previous years. In fact, the 2018 midterm elections saw massives gains for women, as female candidates won in record numbers and, as such, many have dubbed 2018 the year of the woman. But even two years later, the number of female politicians in the US legislature is still small compared to some other countries, and it's still less than a quarter.
3. At least one-fourth of women experience sexual harassment in the workplace.
Even with the prosecution of predators like Harvey Weinstein, at least a quarter of women experience sexual harassment in the workplace, and a study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that, in some reports, that number is as high as 85 percent. And a recent survey conducted by Fairygodboss shows that 61% of women believe that things largely stayed the same or got worse in 2019 for women at work.
4. Women of Color represent almost 50% of the low-wage workforce.
In 2018, black women made up 17.6 percent of the low wage workforce (i.e. food service, home healthcare, housekeeping, retail, etc. with little to no job and/or skills training and advancement). Meanwhile, Hispanic women made up 22.8 percent and Asian, Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander made up 6.7 percent.
Beyond this, women of color face the largest workforce gaps, including wages and representation in leadership positions. In S&P 500 companies, women of color only made up 9.8 percent of first- and mid-level officials and managers, five of executive and senior-level officials and mangers, and just 3.8 percent of board positions. That's perhaps why women of color face the largest wage gaps. Speaking of which...
5. Women earn about 20% less than men on average.
As of January 2020, white women who worked full-time last year earned 82 percent as much as their male counterparts. That's a pay gap of almost 20 percent. The average is even lower for women of color. Black women, on average, made .62 cents to every man's dollar. Meanwhile, Latina women made just .54 cents.
Women earn less than men in almost every occupation. While the gap has decreased since the 1970s as more women seek higher education and enter the workforce, the slow rate of change means that American women are still not expected to reach pay equity with men until 2059. Progress especially started slowing down in 2001 and has even somewhat stalled over the years — so, if it continues to lose momentum, women might not actually reach pay equity until 2119. That's almost a century away.
6. 75% of harassment victims experience retaliation after reporting sexual harassment at work.
Why don't women always report sexual harassment at work? It's because they often fear retaliation — as in, they could get fired for speaking up about their harassment. One study in 2003 found that “75 percent of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some form of retaliation.” And a wealth of other research suggests that all too many organizations respond to sexual harassment reports with inaction.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.