Women have moved into top jobs at some of America's biggest and most recognized corporations including IBM, Pepsico and Archer Daniels Midland. But in their shadows, at the second tier of big U.S. companies, it's a different story.
For perhaps the first time in recent history, male reproductive health is at the forefront of political debate.
In at least six states, lawmakers — all women and all Democrats — have proposed bills or amendments in the last few weeks that aim to regulate a man's access to reproductive health care. It's their way of responding to the ongoing debate around contraception and abortion, said Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University.
Some would prohibit men from getting vasectomies, such as Georgia's House Bill 1116, which states:
"Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies."
Others, like an amendment proposed by Oklahoma State Sen. Constance Johnson, restrict where a man can ejaculate, effectively outlawing all manner of sexual acts. The amendment says:
"Any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman's vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child."
And Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner recently put forward legislation that would require men seeking drugs like Viagra to first get a cardiac stress test to ensure their heart is ready for sexual activity. Oh, and they would also have to obtain certification from one of their recent sexual partners that they are indeed experiencing problems with erectile dysfunction. And they would be required to see a sex therapist before getting a prescription.
"The physician shall ensure that the sessions include information on nonpharmaceutical treatments for erectile dysfunction, including sexual counseling and resources for patients to pursue celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice."
Politicians and employers recognise that gender should be no barrier to career progression. Yet women continue to be under-represented at senior levels across the UK, particularly in the banking sector.
Research by the Institute of Leadership & Management, sponsored by RBS, investigates why so few women are promoted to senior management positions in banking and identifies the challenges they face. The report also propose solutions for the future.
That was the parallax view presented last week at an annual summing up by the National Council for Research on Women, a New York-based network of 100 leading U.S. research policy and advocacy centers, which held a panel here at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Linda Basch, president of the National Council for Research on Women, pointed out women's larger share of poverty. "About 1.2 billion people worldwide--70 percent of them women--live in poverty," Basch said. "In the United States, the poverty rate of women rose to 14.5 percent in 2010, the highest in 17 years, so we have a way to go before gender equity is achieved."
Another disparity is domestic violence. While many higher-income countries have enacted laws, some developing nations still condone wife beating if the woman argues with her husband, refuses to have sex, or burns food.
Last week at a stellar gathering of leaders from business, philanthropy, government, and non-profits, the National Council for Research on Women kicked off 30 years of transforming the way the world looks at women and girls at its annual Making a Difference for Women Awards Dinner.
The Council will honor: Beth Brooke of Ernst & Young; Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan, and Gini Retiker of theWomen, War & Peace series on PBS; Anita Hill of Brandeis University; and Soledad O’Brien of CNN at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
“Our honorees reflect the depth and breadth of our network of researchers, policy specialists, and advocates across business, communication, academia, and the arts. We will not only celebrate all that we’ve accomplished but also focus on all that still needs to be done to improve women’s economic security and advance a critical mass of women into leadership positions by 2015,” said Linda Basch, PhD, President of NCRW.
The Council also recognized 30 outstanding leaders for their contributions to changing the way the world looks at women. Immediately preceding the Awards Dinner, the Council will presented expert roundtable: Women 2012: Taking a Worldwide Reading at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (RSVP details at www.ncrw.org) which featured top experts from the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the White House Domestic Policy Council, as well as the Harvard Kennedy School.
Among those who were honored were two women of Filipino descent – Analisa Balares, CEO of Womensphere and Stephanie Mehta, Executive Editor of Fortune Magazine.
Since 1999, the annual Female FTSE benchmarking report has provided a regular measure of the number of women executive directors on the corporate boards of the UK's top 100 companies.
The Female FTSE Index is announced each year in November, and attracts considerable press attention in the UK and internationally. The study was hosted at the Chancellor of the Exchequer's offices at No. 11 Downing Street in 2004. Reports are available from 2001 onwards. The Index is incorporated in the Reports.
Only 14.3 percent of Division I coaches are women, the fewest since 1992, according to a national survey by the former Brooklyn College professors R. Vivian Acosta and Linda Jean Carpenter.
Longtime female coaches say that many qualified candidates, especially those who are mothers or plan to be, leave the profession rather than juggle the demands of coaching and motherhood.
Fewer, they say, are willing to uproot their families to pursue jobs, as men routinely do, or toil for 10 years at modest pay for a chance to be a head coach when so few women are hired. Most Division I assistants make $40,000 to $50,000 a year. The median salary for Division I head coaches is $125,100, according to the 2004-10 N.C.A.A. Gender Equity Report.
This report argues that women's studies has key lessons to offer about fostering civic engagement at the course level that will deepen student learning in the college setting, contribute respectfully to communities in which they become involved, and produce lifelong civic leaders.
Prepared on behalf of: The Teagle Working Group on Women’s Studies and Civic Engagement and the National Women's Studies Association By Catherine M. Orr, September 2011
iVillage, the content-driven online community for women, has commissioned an extensive analysis to rank all 50 states in order of which were best for women, and which have failed their female citizens.
iVillage, the largest content-driven online community for women, commissioned an extensive analysis to rank all 50 states in order of which were best for women, and which have failed their female citizens. Connecticut, which has healthcare coverage for over 90% of its female population and touts an educated population with more than one-third of women holding a four-year college degree, took top honors as the nation's best state for women. The five best states for women are revealed today on iVillage's iVote channel, the site's Election 2012 hub. Each day for the next 10 days, five more states will be unveiled in descending order, culminating in the worst states on March 23. States were judged on how women fared in terms of healthcare and wellness, economic well-being, parenting support, education, female representation in government, and reproductive rights.
The five best states in iVillage's ranking are: 1. Connecticut 2. Hawaii 3. Maryland 4. Massachusetts 5. California
To gather the facts for iVillage's "50 Best to Worst States for Women" list, 12 authoritative sources of data were consulted, including the National Council of State Legislatures, National Women's Law Center, National Partnership for Women & Families, the 2010 US Census FactFinder, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence. The categories of healthcare & wellness and economic well-being were weighted as top criteria, followed by parenting and female representation in government office. Education and reproductive rights also factored in. For the full methodology used to determine each state's rank, click here.
In the next five years, STEM jobs are projected to grow twice as quickly as jobs in all other fields according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. While all jobs are expected to grow by 10.4 percent, STEM jobs are expected to increase by 21.4 percent. Similarly, 80 percent of jobs in the next decade will require technical skills.
By this measure, future STEM jobs represent a huge opportunity to today's students. But to put these numbers into perspective, of the 3.8 million ninth graders in the U.S., only 233,000 end up choosing a STEM degree in college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This means only 6 percent of ninth graders will become STEM graduates. And of these graduates, women will be even more underrepresented in most STEM fields.
These are alarming statistics. How do we get more young boys and girls to be interested in STEM-related fields? It isn't an easy task. Schools do not always adequately prepare students for these rigorous subjects, and college programs are designed to weed out the less persistent. Nationally, only 41 percent of initial White and Asian American STEM majors who begin a degree in STEM-related fields complete their degree in less than six years.
In addition, societal pressures continue to loom over girls who might otherwise consider the STEM fields. A couple of years ago, I met amazing parents, both of whom had a background in engineering and hoped their 10 year-old daughter would follow in their footsteps. They encouraged her to take an after school science/robotics program. When she got there, she found she was outnumbered 6:1 by boys in the class. As the only girl, she came home crying much of the time because she was teased and told that geeky girls are not welcome in the boys' club. Ironically, by the time young adults are entering college programs in STEM fields, many complain about the lack of gender diversity.