#make it happen! International Women’s Day (IWD) was on March 8. It celebrated the economic, social, and political achievements of women in countries around the world. The United Nations explained IWD “is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”
Although IWD is not a recognized holiday in the United States, American women have made great strides, particularly in the workplace. If you look back to the 1890s, when the U.S. government first began gathering detailed information about working people, there were about 63 million Americans. Twenty-three million were working-age women. (The working age, whether you were male or female, was 10 or older.) Women were a relatively small part of the paid work force – just 17 percent – as most labored in the home or alongside their families on farms, producing food and goods.
How times have changed!
The 2013 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey estimated there were more than 316 million Americans in 2012. About 103 million were working age women (ages16 to 64) and more than 73 million women were part of the paid work force.
Women have become an integral part of American companies. In early 2015, Catalyst reported women who worked at Standard & Poor’s 500 companies held:
· 25.1 percent of executive/senior-level management positions
· 19.2 percent of the board seats
· 4.8 percent of chief executive officer positions
In addition, the inclusion of women on corporate boards appears to correlate with better performance. The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards compared the performance of companies which included the most women on their boards to those with fewest by measuring return on equity (ROE), return on sales (ROS), and return on invested capital (ROI). Companies with more women sitting on their boards had, on average, 53 percent higher ROE, 42 percent higher ROS, and 66 percent higher ROI.
Think About It
“No matter what message you are about to deliver somewhere, whether it is holding out a hand of friendship, or making clear that you disapprove of something, is the fact that the person sitting across the table is a human being, so the goal is to always establish common ground.”
--Madeleine Albright, Former U.S. Secretary of State
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