Five Reasons to Get Behind International Women’s Day

Women matter. That’s why we’ve pledged that by the end of 2020 at least 50% of our suppliers will be woman-owned or -operated. Thank you for joining us to celebrate women on International Women’s Day—and every day. This is one in a series of articles exploring the reasons why this day exists and what we can do about it.

In the United States, the land of opportunity, women are still plainly disadvantaged in comparison to men. Despite 99 years having passed since the Constitution granted their right to vote, women have a long way to go in the struggle for equality, as shown by these thought-provoking statistics about the status of gender equality in the US.

 

More women experience poverty.

Women comprise over 60% of minimum-wage earners, and the gender poverty gap has widened over the past 50 years. The number of women living below the poverty line has grown from 10.8% in 1968 to 13.4% in 2016 (compared to 7.2% and 9.7% of men respectively). Households led by single women with children have a poverty rate of 35.6%, which is over twice the rate of households led by single men with children. Poverty statistics are more even grave for women of color.

Organizations like Equality Now believe in meshing the efforts of attorneys, activists and the public to fuel laws that change outcomes for women.

 

Few women are in positions of leadership.

As of 2018, only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women; this percentage persists for the Fortune 1000 as well. That’s merely 51 out of 1000 CEOs! In 2018, the US made history by achieving unprecedented representation in Congress, which sounds impressive until learning that still only 24% of these government leaders are women.

According to IFundWomen, 72% of female founders cite lack of access to capital as the top barrier to starting a business; their solution is a crowdfunding platform for woman-led startups.

 

Women are paid less and have less wealth.

Less than 1/3 of the country’s top 10% earners are women. As of 2016, across all industries, women’s full-time earnings are about 81¢ for every dollar a man earns. On the basis of race, wage disparity between genders is widest among Asian-Americans and whites (particularly because the average compensation of black and Latino men is much less than white and Asian men). However, Latina women overall have the biggest disadvantage, earning around 54¢ to a man’s dollar. The greatest pay gaps exist in management tiers.

Women in general have only 1/3 the retirement savings of men.

Among its efforts to “help women achieve their ambitions and work to create an equal world,” Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In Foundation promotes awareness and initiatives designed to close the gender wage gap.

 

Women pay more.

The so-called “pink tax” charges women more for necessities at an estimated annual cost of $1350 per woman. As an example, medications for erectile dysfunction are tax-exempt in most states while products for menstruation are subject to tax. In California alone, this is estimated to bring in around $20 million in taxes per year.

Many companies create similar products for men and women and charge more for the “feminine” version, which is how the pink tax got its name. In fact, even some children’s clothes are marketed this way, so the “girl” version of a virtually identical garment costs more.

Studies by TheStreet and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that beside personal care products and clothing, women are routinely charged more for cars, haircuts and dry cleaning. Also, home health care products, toys and accessories are priced higher when the intended user is female.

With bite-sized content and fun (jaw-dropping) tools, Ax the Pink Tax is keeping tabs on the higher costs of being a woman and making it easy to share with others.

 

Women experience violence at the hands of men.

It’s widely known that one in five women on college campuses have reported having experienced sexual assault. The actual number is anticipated to be higher because these events are generally underreported. The ACLU has estimated that at least 95% of campus rapes go unreported, while the American Association of University Women (AAUW) states that the majority of universities do not even disclose any reported instances of sexual harassment or sexual assault, which downplays the problem and may influence a woman’s decision not to report.

According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness of families.

Most harrowing, every day, at least three women are murdered by their male partners or ex-partners.

The website of the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides emergency resources as well as tools to define abuse and learn from those who have overcome abuse.

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Author: April Carter Grant

April Carter GrantApril Carter Grant grew up in the rural Midwest and has worked as a creative in the advertising, gaming, travel and beauty industries. An avid walker and sometime runner, she lives in LA with a young son and spazzy dog.

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