IN THE NEWS: Women's Roles in a Changing Economy

Posted November 13, 2009 by Vivienne Heston-Demirel

Many of us are still reeling from the ambush of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that was sneaked into the House health care bill last Saturday.  Women’s organizations and pro-choice advocates across the country are justifiably outraged over this latest attack on the right to privacy and reproductive choice. To read our round-up click here, and click here for Gloria Feldt’s commentary at the Women’s Media Center.

On the bright side, The White House Project successfully launched its groundbreaking benchmarking report today on women’s leadership across sectors. I urge you to visit their website and read it, if you haven’t already done so, click here. I’ve also posted two more news articles about the changing roles of women in today’s turbulent economy and in the U.S. military.

Women Struggle to Make It as Leaders, Says the White House Project
Report: Women Occupy Only 18 Percent of Top Leadership Roles in 10 Sectors of Work Force

In terms of sheer numbers, women now surpass men in the work force, but they're still lagging far behind their male peers when it comes to cracking those glass ceilings.  A study finds that women account for just 18 percent of top leadership roles in 10 sectors, including business, nonprofit groups, law and religion, according to the new report, "Benchmarking Women's Leadership."

"Women's leadership is stuck in every sector of American society at a time when we need their innovation ... when we need their talent, and the research tells us [to] bring in the women if you want to change things," said Marie Wilson, President of The White House Project, the nonprofit organization in New York that produced the report.

As many as 90 percent of women and men report being ready to see women in charge. At the same time, people also believe that both sexes are "already leading equally," which is a misconception, according to the report. To see the video on ABC's Good Morning America, click here.

In Downturn's Wake, Women Hold Half of U.S. Jobs
Households That Could Afford to Have One Spouse Stay Home Find Roles Upended by Layoffs in Male-Dominated Industries.

Jeff and Vicki Grenz celebrated their 25th anniversary on Sept. 12, 2007. The date marked another milestone for the California couple: Ms. Grenz went back to work.

After giving birth to the second of four children, Ms. Grenz, now 47-years old, stopped working as a campaign consultant full time in 1993. "Every time I had a big meeting or had to go out of town, someone had an ear infection," she said. So Mr. Grenz supported the family through his business as a custom home builder, while his wife stayed home.

The recession and real-estate collapse have taken that option away from women such as Ms. Grenz who could afford not to work during the boom. Thanks to steep layoffs and soaring unemployment among men, more women are returning to the work force.

While Ms. Grenz had taken on occasional campaign consulting projects over the years, she hadn't planned on re-entering the work force so soon. "I always assumed I would go back, just not when I had a toddler at home," said Ms. Grenz, whose youngest was 2 years old when a sharp slowdown in her husband's home-building work sent her back to work two years ago as a community-relations manager for a local engineering firm. To read the entire article, click here.

Power Women: Women In The Military
Whether they're combat pilots, translators or base commanders, women are redefining--and often struggling with--life in today's military.

When Ann Dunwoody became the first female four-star general of the U.S. Army in 2008, it was a symbolic moment for both women and the military. Gen. Dunwoody's promotion demonstrated how far women have advanced over the 37 years since female soldiers began serving alongside their male peers.

Women have served in combat since the Revolutionary War, when Margaret Corbin fought alongside her cousin and became the first paid female soldier in U.S. history. But women didn't get official military status until World War II, when the government grudgingly formed WAC--the Women's Army Corps--because it needed volunteers to build airplanes, operate radio communications and analyze intelligence. And for the first time in U.S. history, women also trained and served as pilots in the war. Click here to continue.

This post is part of a forum

<< Back to the Full Blog