Women in the Workplace: We've Come a Long Way, But Not Far Enough

While we are doing great, we still have a long way to go.
IMAGE Wikimedia Commons

Eighty-five percent of Filipinas believe that there has never been a better time to be a woman, and we agree with that wholeheartedly. The Philippines generally ranked well in most aspects of gender parity according to an annual Global Gender Gap report by the World Economic Forum.

Women excel in the many roles they play in society as leaders, consumers, wealth creators, inventors, and pioneers. The modern woman is stronger than ever. As we celebrate Women’s Month, we take a step back and revel in the accomplishments that we have achieved and everything else we still have yet to fulfill.

The overall ranking of countries in terms of gender parity

Women and education

The above average performance of female students in schools and universities is widening the gap in education between sexes, the women having the upper hand. This was unthinkable in the 1960s when more boys were sent to school, but now the tables have turned. In a study by OECD, women make up 56 percent of student populations, which is up from 46 percent in 1985. Studies have also shown that women who attend university are more likely to graduate than their male cohorts. The women were said to be dominant in the education, health, arts, and social sciences, while men were drawn to engineering, computing, and mathematics.

Women in the workforce

In 2016, the World Economic Forum measured both men and women’s global average in annual earnings and reported that women make $11,000 per year, while men make almost twice as much with $20,000 annually. Fifty-six percent of women are now active in the labor force.

The power women hold in the economy lies in consumer spending as they constitute about 85 percent of sales made in the United States. Imagine how low the overall outcome of consumer spending would dip if there were, hypothetically, no women for a day? 

Women spend more, according to a study by Half the Sky Movement, because they are more likely to invest in essentials such as their child’s education and household items for the family. Men, on the other hand, tend to squander more on alcohol and vices.

Female representation in the government

Twenty percent of parliamentarians in the world are women, while women account for 18 percent in the judiciary. So far, almost half the number of countries have had female heads of state, and the Philippines is one of them. We’ve had two female presidents in the past and rank 17th in the world when it comes to political empowerment.

Female executives in businesses

Fortunately for the other Asia Pacific countries, senior business roles held by women have risen by two percent this year, going from 23 to 25 percent in a global survey by The Grant Thornton. The study also found that 29 percent of senior roles went to women for companies in the Philippines, India, and Indonesia.

On the other hand, reports have also revealed that Fortune magazine's 500 most powerful companies in the U.S. have dropped in numbers in terms of female CEOs despite efforts to promote gender parity in the workplace. Only 21 companies on the list had women in senior roles, as compared to the previous year’s 24. Developed countries have been said to show more bias toward men and this just might prove that.

Women in the tech industry

While more men tend to take on careers in technology, women have been switching to the field little by little. It might be because the next generation of women is encouraged to do so, through media and even children's books.

A woman-led business is more likely to establish a mission-driven one that empowers other women and its employees, ultimately having an impact on the future of the tech industry. Susan Wojcicki recently reported that today, “women hold 26 percent of all tech jobs.”

Unfortunately, women are also 45 percent likely to move out of tech in the U.S., and away from companies in Silicon Valley due to bias and underrepresentation. A small portion of that number cited a family-related issue as their reason for leaving. Shane Ryoo, who lives and works in Silicon Valley says in an article by Forbes that it is “better for women in Silicon Valley than before, but 'better' is not 'good,' and 'good' is not 'equal.'"

Women in poverty

Once women retire, they are more likely to live in poverty, as compared to men since they earned less during their working years. The pay gap upon retirement is also greater, especially for minorities. Another aspect might be age since women typically live longer than men. Women also tend to have different spending habits from men.

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Features Editor
Hannah is originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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