The New York Times recently published an article on the issue that cited obstacles for many women, including the demands of motherhood and institutional constraints (specifically, school schedules, inflexible business hours and relatively short maternity leave benefits).
A few statistics on the issue:
- For roughly the past 10 years, women have continued to earn around 80 cents on the dollar when compared to the wages of their male counterparts.
- Women comprise less than 5 percent of all Fortune 500 CEOs.
- Of the more than 5 million jobs reportedly added to the economy since 2009, a mere 30 percent were filled by women.
These figures are baffling, given that women are graduating from college at a higher rate than men (earning 56.9 of all bachelor’s degrees in 2012). Additionally, when it comes to engagement – which has been proven to have a significant impact on job performance – women have surpassed men, according to results from a recent Gallup poll.
The disparity in employment and earnings between men and women is no doubt a complex issue, but according to Betsey Stevenson, a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, it is also (in the words of Janis Joplin) one of “great social and political import.” Stevenson asserts that the issue of inequality is worth addressing both for the sake of families and because it could have negative, long-term impacts on the labor market.