Women are the real architects of society.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
- What does this quote mean? Do you agree? Why or why not?
- March is Women’s History Month, and March 8 is International Women’s Day. This day is intended to raise awareness of women’s many contributions to society and of the fact that women and girls are not treated equally in many ways; it also is intended to inspire action for change. Some examples of unequal treatment -- also called the gender gap -- include:
- Educational access: in many societies, girls are unable to attend school. This may be for cultural reasons (the belief that girls don’t need to be educated) or economic ones (family can’t afford to send all children to school, so boys get priority). Less education for girls leads to less economic development and poorer health outcomes for women and children.
- Earnings: in every country, women earn less on average than men, and are often paid less for the same work. This pay gap is larger in the U.S. than in many highly developed countries.
- Leadership roles: in many countries, including the U.S., the majority of political and business leaders are male. For example, just 104 women hold seats in the United States Congress, comprising 19.4% of the 535 members. In American business, women currently hold 29 (5.8%) of CEO positions (the top job) at S&P 500 companies (these are major corporations).
- Can you think of additional examples of the gender gap?
- Why do you think the “gender gap” exists? Suggest some actions that can be taken to narrow or eliminate it.