November 01, 2014

Women still earn less despite other gains, says White House report

American Made
Creative Commons License photo credit: imperiousimages

The report, Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being, released yesterday, is said by the White House to be the most comprehensive report on the state of women in 50 years.

There is nothing surprising really in the report. Most of us know the data. What is surprising, shocking and appalling is that it is 50 years since the last major report on women like this.

Are we only 75% as important as men? (see data below on women’s earnings compared with men)

It is only fitting that the report was released on the first day of Women’s History Month, with the theme: “Our History is Our Strength.”

We need more accounting of how we are changing and how we are not. And someone needs to be held accountable.

In a statement, Valerie Jarrett, chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, said:

“The Obama Administration has been focused on addressing the challenges faced by women and girls from day one because we know that the success of women and girls is vital to winning the future. Today’s report not only serves as a look back on American women’s lives, but serves as a guidepost to help us move forward.”

Let’s hope this report, showing where we are right now, will lead to real change for our daughters and friends.

Because there is no real equality in sight in my lifetime or yours … unless you are very young … given the rate of change revealed in the White House‘s major report on women released yesterday.

Even if I live to a ripe old age, as more women than men will do, the report shows women like me are more likely to die old and poor.

Women made 75% as much as their male counterparts in 2009, across all educational levels, confirmed the report released yesterday.

Women are having babies later, getting married less and later and doing better at school but they’re still lagging behind men when it comes to earning power, confirms the White House report. And men and women still tend to work in different occupations, with three times as many women working in administrative jobs than men and few women working in finance or construction.

For my female friends in finance, there is some good news. The number of women has increased from 9% to 14%.

Men and women also have equal access to workplace flexibility but more women work part-time more than men.

Even if you don’t have time to read the entire report, glance down the list of chapters (formatted for the web-savvy reader who likes to skim and bounce ) and you’ll be better informed. The White House will be releasing the report in bite-sized chunks during Women’s History Month.

There’s plenty to read on the report, including by these commentators:

  • The New White House Report on Women, and What We Have to Stop Complaining About (blogs.forbes.com) Momstowork commentary: Ali Brown’s account annoyed me. Yes, more women should launch their own businesses, as she suggests, instead of whining about the system, but not every woman is suited to running her own business or wants to do that. But how many small businesses fail? More than succeed each year, and that’s a risky proposition for many women without resources.  She also says the masculine model sucks for us. Yes, but it sucks for many men too. We need to preach that work life fit is something that benefits men and women, those with children and without, to effect a change. We need to stop making this a women’s issue but a people’s issue.
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About the Author: Julie Power is a writer and editor with experience in both the United States and Australia. After living in the United States for 16 years, she recently returned to live in Sydney with her husband and twin boys (9 years old). Follow @juliepower





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