Where are all the women?

(Photo Courtesy: www.abovethelaw.com)

This is a question I’ve been asking myself, lately… where are all the women? Observing any indicator of influence or power in our world, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that women are getting the short end of the stick:

Percentage of women in the U.S. Congress? 16.8%

Percentage of women in the Fortune 500? 3.6%

Percentage of Judiciary Branch that’s female? 31%

Percentage of senior military officers who are women? 5.3%

Percentage of U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents who are/have been women? 0%

Number of women who have been a major party’s candidate for president or vice president? 2.

But what really puts this all into perspective is the fact that women make up more than half (50.8%) of the population of our country.

More than half.

So, how is it that women still constitute so little of the power hubs in the United States? I’m not sure I can answer that adequately, but I can say there are clear consequences to women having negligible representation in these hierarchies:

– Women, on average, still make 19% less than men.

– Women are still restricted from 20% of all U.S. military active-duty jobs, despite expert opinion from retired senior military officers supporting changes that would allow women to serve in combat arms.

– There were an estimated 19,000 sexual assaults (95% against women) in the U.S. military, last year, a number that continues to climb and seems aggravated by a culture that fails to support victims when they come forward.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

How can we tell our young girls that all under the law are equal when it’s clear that women don’t enjoy equal rights in this country?

If you feel as strongly as I do about this, here are some organizations working to ensure that women have just as great a shot at success as men do in the United States:

National Organization for Women – Since 1966, NOW’s mission has been “to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.” The organization currently has over 500,000 members and 550 chapters across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Service Women’s Action Network – SWAN supports, defends, and empowers today’s servicewomen and women veterans of all eras, through groundbreaking advocacy initiatives and innovative, healing community programs.

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10 thoughts on “Where are all the women?

  1. jemma says:

    I don’t think the problem is that women don’t have rights. I think the reason that there are not many women in the fields you speak of is that not many choose those fields.

  2. Yes, but the reason they don’t choose those fields is because, even today, women are expected to be docile and non-confrontational. As a result, our society still sees women as “unfit” for cutthroat professions. It’s not a matter of choice so much as a matter of pressure on them to be a certain way.

  3. BTW, Charles, this is Alyssa D. from Facebook/Xanga–my blog on here is a food blog. 🙂

  4. Terry Carter says:

    I agree with your concerns over women being victimized, that certainly is not a good thing. However, I disagree with your premise that not being the leader of a Fortune 500 company or a congresswoman somehow constitutes a suppression of women’s rights. If so, you would have to agree that you & I are having our rights violated by not being members of Congress (of course this is ridiculous.) Show me a woman in a recent election that publicly decided not to run after too much ridicule for being a woman. It is fabricated. Why wouldn’t we consider the possibility that many qualified/capable women would refuse if asked to take these roles? Do these numbers reflect a systemic problem, or simply the free choice of a free people regardless of gender? None of us are perfect or exactly the same, so holding each other to this standard simply doesn’t make sense, even if it feels like you’re helping someone.

  5. polopaula says:

    It may be choice, but I feel like there still is a lack of opportunity, some of which starts in Junior High School, when girls still seem to be “guided” into fields more appropriate for women, as determined by some teachers and guidance counselors. Not all, but some. My sister is a guidance counselor at a prominent Texas High School, and she says that by the time young women are seniors, that some of this “career directing” has already entered their thinking, and it is important to let them know that their choices are much broader than what they had been considering.

  6. project30in2012 says:

    So glad I found your blog! So, I wrote about the issue of “women having it all” a couple of weeks ago on my blog and it sparked a fairly lively discussion of what that means. In short, it’s complicated. There are MANY reasons (cultural, societal, tradition, etc) that women are absent from a large number of spheres. As far as solving that problem (and to be clear, like you state, it IS a problem) — that’s where it gets really tricky… http://project30in2012.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/can-women-have-it-all/

  7. Ike Mason says:

    Where are all the women playing in the NFL? Psychically and mentally men and women are quite different. It is like comparing a shovel to a sprinkler, they are both excellent for what they were designed to do,

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