Work In Progress: Women's Rights

Earlier this month, the former CEO of Yahoo! was unceremoniously removed by the company board, via a telephone call. Many have questioned and wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that Carol Bartz is a woman; if the termination could have been better handled if Bartz were a male.

Of course, there are no straightforward answers.

Women have come a long way in terms of social and economic mobility. Several decades ago, women were identified primarily in their traditional sphere of work (i.e., care giving, within the domains of a home). Education opportunities for females were scarce, much less employment opportunities.

Today, women are showing up in large numbers in universities. Across Ivy League colleges in the United States, the number of female students enrolled are largely equalised. In 2010, 58 per cent of all undergraduate degrees in the United States were awarded to women. As a result, women accounted for 53 per cent of the total college-educated labour population in the U.S. 

The visibility of women in politics, traditionally regarded as a male-dominated sphere, is also increasing. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher, the late Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan and Christine Lagarde from the International Monetary Fund are women who have (or had) taken top roles in governments and esteemed international organisations.

Women have also been a growing factor in the success of the U.S. economy since the 1970s. Indeed, the additional economic contribution of women entering the workforce since the 1970 accounts for about 25 per cent of the current U.S. GDP

Yet, despite the advances made in reducing gender discrimination, women still find themselves shortchanged at the workplace. The employment conditions of women are nowhere close to ideal. For years, women have been paid only a fraction of what men earn.

What more can be done for women?

Read the full story by Michele Lin on EconomyWatch: Women At Work: Moving Towards Parity

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