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Just the Facts Ma’am on Women in the 21st Century Workplace – Where Do They Really Stand? The Facts will Surprise You!

My latest book entitled “How to Succeed in a Testosterone World without Losing Estrogen,” has been receiving a lot of buzz and is now also available as a textbook because a good portion of it is dedicated to providing information from the latest research highlighting the unresolved issues in equality for women in the workplace which exists to this day. After being in the business world for almost 30 years, travelling and speaking at venues to women in the states as well as overseas, I have personally experienced the challenges, obstacles and lessons of women in the workplace. It is true women are now stepping out of the box and, in spite of being in some unchartered waters, they are putting fear aside and taking that leap of faith. As the old commercial used to say, “You have come a long way, baby,” but the truth of the matter is, as research proves, women are nowhere near that finish line. I recently was a keynote trainer at the NIH Diversity Conference on the subject and spoke at another private industry conference a week later, I was surprised that many were taken aback by some of the facts which I am about to reveal. I must say when I started doing research the following also took me by surprise.

Just the Facts Ma’am

To give you an example of where women are today, in 2009 the United States Office of Management and Budget and The Bureau of Economics and Statistics Administration within the United States Department of Commerce produced what is said to be one of the most comprehensive reports on women in the history of the United States. I also learned recently that United States General Accounting Office did their own independent study in regard to women in the federal workplace. For the first time, information from across the federal statistical agencies on five critical areas of challenges faced by women over time were linked in one research report document. The report from OMB focused on education, families and income, employment, health, and crime and violence. The report is entitled “Women in America” Indicators of Social and Economic Wellbeing.” Here’s the good news for women according to the report: the research indicates that women in America have not only caught up with men in college attendance, but younger women are now more likely to have a college or a master’s degree than younger men. Women in America are also working more and the number of women in the workforce has doubled, constituting a growing share of family income.

Women make up 50.8 percent of the population and represent close to 47% of the workforce. The bad news although women are earning college degrees at a faster pace than men, women (in private and nonprofit) are still earning one third less than their male counterparts. According to GAO’s report women in the federal workplace had less of a disparity in pay, however, in 1872 Congress passed a law giving women federal employee equal pay for equal work. Because either single or divorced women with children are more likely to have responsibility for raising and supporting their children, more women in America live in poverty than ever before. Also according to the research women are living longer than men; however, women face certain health problems, such as mobility, arthritis, asthma, depression and obesity. One out of seven women in the United States aged 18 to 64 has no usual source of health care. In addition, research indicates that an increasing and alarming rate of women are victims of abuse and stalking.

Could 24 words 92 characters be the answer?

There were many trailblazers who fought long and hard for women to be treated equally in and out of the workplace. The National Woman’s Party thought it would be natural that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) would be the next step to follow the 19th Amendment providing women the right to vote. The ERA was introduced into every session of Congress beginning in 1923, it then went to the states for ratification. At the deadline, even though Congress had extended its seven year limit, only 35 states had ratified it, leaving it three short of the 38 required for it to pass. As of this writing, the Equal Rights Amendment has not been ratified and still needs 3 more states to sign on. It is now more than 90 years after Susan B. Anthony led the way for the 19th Amendment and the right for Women to Vote, a Quaker named Alice Paul was handed the torch and wrote the Equal Rights Amendment. Paul fought long and hard for equal rights even chaining herself to the front of the White House gates and her protests caused her to be arrested several times. She went on a hunger strike while in jail in her staunch support for equality. Alice Paul simply wrote: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” She and others thought it would be a natural follow-up to women earning the right to vote. That is the ERA, comprised of 24 words or 92 characters. According to the FAQ on the website www.equalrightsamendment.org the question is asked “Since the 14th Amendment guarantees all citizens equal protection of the laws, why do we still need the ERA in our Constitution ?” Their response follows: “ The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, after the Civil War, to deal with race discrimination….In referring to the electorate, it added the word “male” to the Constitution for the first time. However, (Craig v. Boren, 1976; United States v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 1996), the Court declined to elevate sex discrimination claims to the strict scrutiny standard of review that the 14th Amendment requires for certain suspect classifications, such as race, religion, and national origin…. In September 2010, a Supreme Court Justice stated his belief that the Constitution does not protect against sex discrimination. This remark has provoked widespread public reaction, citing his position as clear evidence of the need for an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.” In 1776, Abigail Adams, US First Lady stated; “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to forment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” Yet today although women make up almost 51 percent of the population, there are ONLY 72 women serving in the US House of Representatives, ONLY 17 women in the Senate and ONLY six women governors. Men hold 362 seats in the US House of Representatives and 83 seats in the Senate, and currently 44 men serve as governors.

Women presently own 28.8 percent of the firms in the United States, yet only 3 percent of majority women-owned firms have revenues over one million dollars compared to 6 percent of majority men-owned businesses. As of this writing, the average revenue of majority women-owned businesses is 27 percent of the average revenue of majority men-owned businesses.

Why” Women Are an Important Force in the US Economy

However, women are making strides in the economy and have proven themselves a force in the US Economy when provided with the opportunity, an economic impact study conducted by the Center for Women’s Business Research and the National Women’s Business Council documented that majority women-owned firms today are bringing in more than 23 million jobs. The Guardian Small Business Research Institute projects that women-owned businesses will create five to 5.5 million new jobs by 2018 – more than half the 9.7 million new small business jobs expected to be created and about one-third of the 15.3 million total new jobs anticipated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics by 2018.

*Excerpts from this article were taken from award winning CEO and Author Daisy Gallagher’s latest book “How to Succeed in a Testosterone World without Losing Estrogen” available in bookstores, online store as a TextBook http://m.textbooksrus.com/book/details.aspx?isbn=1475160623&kbid=1067 ; Amazon,etc.


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