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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.