Women En Mass (WEM) explains the sentiment perfectly:
“The world may have changed a great deal for women in America over the last 100 years, but there’s still work to be done.”
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the United States has seen an increase in women’s participation in the workforce. The climb in numbers was initially gradual, but it gained momentum from the early 1970s through the early 1990s. Unfortunately, that growing trend has since hit a plateau with 75 percent of women ages 25 to 54 either working or seeking work. That’s a far cry from the 88.6 percent of American men in the same age range working or seeking work.
The U.S. once had one of the highest rates of female workforce participation in the early 1990s, but the country now ranks 17th among 22 developed nations. There is an astounding incentive to boost this trend upwards again, and it has global implications. According to the Third Billion Index compiled by Strategy&, boosting the number of working women can also drive powerful economic growth. The index indicates that increasing female employment to that of males could have a direct impact on the gross domestic product (GDP), one of the primary indicators that gauges the health of a country’s economy. More specifically, Strategy& estimates that doing so worldwide could raise the GDP five percent in the U.S., nine percent in Japan, 12 percent in the United Arab Emirates, and 34 percent in Egypt.
The true impact would be even greater than it sounds, however. Strategy& also suggests that women are more likely than men to invest a large proportion of household income in their children’s education. “As those children grow up,” the Third Billion Index report notes, “their improved status becomes a positive social and economic factor in their society. Thus, even small increases in the opportunities available to women, and some release of the cultural and political constraints that hold them back, can lead to dramatic economic and social benefits.”
The benefits of women’s participation in the workforce do not stop there. A recent New York Times article quoted Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen as follows: “The evidence shows that the rise in women’s participation has contributed to widespread improvements in the safety and productivity of our workplaces, to the health of families and to the macroeconomic success that our country has enjoyed.”
What can we do to boost the once rapid increase of employed women? The Third Billion Index says the answer comes in part with more laws and policies that help women get their ducks in a row so they CAN work. This means better rules regarding minimum schooling, employment after childbirth, and access to credit. Another analysis adds that American employers need to provide better paid maternity leave, more affordable childcare, and more flexible work schedules.
ABOUT JOHN BAIR
John Bair has guided thousands of plaintiffs through the settlement process as founder of Milestone Consulting, LLC, a broad-based settlement planning and management firm. Milestone’s approach is comprehensive and future-focused. John’s team has guided thousands of clients by taking the time to understand the complexities of each case. They assess the best outcome and find the path that enables each client to manage their many needs. Read more about Milestone Consulting at milestoneseventh.com.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).