Today is the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day - "It is a major day of global celebration of women. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and social achievements." ( Wikipedia) So if you are a woman, be sure to get lots of of extra hugs today from the men in your life, and give your sisters some high fives.
But here is the question - As American Women ( full disclosure I am Canadian living in the US ) do we have a lot to celebrate or if this a moment to say where we are is unacceptable and it is time to step up and create positive change? Here are some facts to help you think about your answer:
- The US ranks 37th in gender equality among the world's 42 most highly developed nations
- The US ranks 64th globally with a 19 percent wage gap between male and female full-time workers
- The US ranks last among the world's top 11 industrialized nations in both infant and maternal mortality ( above from the Ms. Foundation )
- Nationally, women are 57% of all college students but only 26% of full professors, 23% of university presidents and 14% of presidents at the doctoral degree-granting institutions
- Among Fortune 500 companies, women constitute only 3% of the CEO's, 6% of the top paying positions and 16% of the corporate officers
- In film, women constitute 16% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers and cinematographers
- Of the top 15 media corporations (which include a mix of print, online, television and radio businesses), all CEO's are male and only 17% of board members are women
- Despite being nearly half (48%) of law school graduates, women make up only 18% of law partners and only one in four are judges.
- The military remains the only profession in the United States which under Department of Defense policy prohibits women from taking certain jobs. This hinders women from being promoted to the top levels of leadership
- Women make up only 17% of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate; no women have ever been presidents or vice president. Women of color are completely absent from the Senate and only account for 5% in the House of Representatives
I assume you can guess where I am on this issue. This is unacceptable to me. Unacceptable. It has been and will continue to be my life's work to help in whatever way I can to narrow these gaps and help create a world where both men and women, boys and girls, can live in a more peaceful and just way. So when I raise a glass tonight it will be NOT be to toast our progress, but to recommit myself to the promise of a better future. Be part of the solution. Be the change you want to see in the world. Believe that gender inequality is an important issue and deserves your attention no matter what you age, race or gender.
Many of the statistics above were pulled from this comprehensive study - White House Project's Benchmarking Study. Take a look. ( click here )
The list of amazing articles that were written in honor of today is very long indeed and I will in the next blog attempt to gather the best of.
For now watch this new video just released by V Day! V Day's mission, to end violence against women and girls. Eve Ensler thank you for creating such a powerful movement. You have made such a difference. ( click here to watch )