A group of young women stand together smiling

Beyond Bossy, Slutty, or Bitchy: College Students Fight Gender Stereotypes

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The attitudes behind words like “bitch” and “bossy” are dangerous — they reinforce stereotypes that follow kids into adulthood, and they intersect with discrimination that’s based on race, sexuality, gender identity, and disability. But these college students are changing that. Read more »

President Barack Obama delivers the 2015 State of the Union address.

Women’s Economic Concerns Take Center Stage in State of the Union

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In this year’s State of the Union address, the president decided to go big with a speech some pundits are calling one of his most confident since 2008. Read more »

Blog   |   Economic Justice   |   3 Comments   |   January 21, 2015
Unfair pay

A Look Back at where Pay Equity Has Been and where It’s Going

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When it comes to reaching pay equity, the pace of change is glacial. Just how long will it take until we see equal pay? At this rate, it could be more than 100 years. Read more »

Blog   |   Economic Justice   |   3 Comments   |   January 20, 2015
A year and a half after graduating from college, Amanda Herman is juggling several jobs, including one as a house manager at a theater.

Thriving or Surviving in the Freelance Economy

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Freelance work is on the rise. But is it a boon or a burden for women workers? Read more »

Blog   |   Career and Workplace   |   1 Comments   |   January 14, 2015
mind the gap by Rupert Ganzer, on Flickr

Exploring the Gender Gap in Business

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How can we expect girls to desire jobs in business if the odds are stacked against them? Read more »

Blog   |   Career and Workplace   |   1 Comments   |   December 05, 2014
Maureen Evans Arthurs (left) and AAUW staff rallied at the Supreme Court for fair pay.

5 Ways You Can Cut Back to Give Back This Season

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I owe a lot to AAUW. Here are some ways I plan to cut back this giving season so that I can return the favor. Read more »

Blog   |   Community   |   November 24, 2014
Photo credit: Claus Tom Christensen

No Passport Required: A Look at Where Women Have It Best

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Where’s the best place in the world to be a woman? We took a close look at the top 10 highest-ranked countries in the World Economic Forum’s recent list. Read more »

Twenty-four states have never elected a woman governor.

10 Stats on Women’s Equality That Might Be Scarier than Halloween

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‘Tis the season to be scared. From horror films and costumes to jack-o’-lanterns and ghost stories, Halloween is never short on surprises. But while the holiday celebrates the spooky, every day women face scary circumstances. Ghouls, goblins, and graveyards may seem frightening, but the statistics on women’s equality reflect a reality far scarier than whatever comes out to haunt on Halloween.

Which is scarier?

Hispanic and Latina women were paid 54 percent of what white men were paid in 2013.

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brains

The pay gap affects women of all backgrounds, but unsurprisingly, race and ethnicity matter when it comes to women’s paychecks. Hispanic and Latina women face the worst disparity, getting paid only 54 percent of what white men get paid.


Witches

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Women make up just 25 percent of the computing workforce and 14 percent of the engineering workforce.

Despite the higher salaries and greater prospects for employment for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, the pipeline continues to be dominated by men. Among the computing and engineering fields, which account for 80 percent of STEM jobs, women represent less than one-quarter of the workers.


Women’s representation in Congress is only 18.5 percent.

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Frankenstein

The 2012 election cycle proved significant for women; they bolstered their political representation in Congress to an all-time high. Yet there’s still not even one woman for every five men in Congress.


creepy mike myers

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Twenty-four states have never elected a woman governor.

While we’ve seen small but steady gains in women’s representation in national office, progress among state leadership has been meager. Only 35 women have served as state governors, and 24 states have never elected a woman to the governor’s seat. Several of these states have a chance to make history in the election next week, including Rhode Island and Wisconsin.


The United States ranks 60th in women’s political empowerment.

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Spell Book

So much for America being a leader in feminist progress. In its most recent Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum ranked the United States 60th among 136 countries for women’s political empowerment. The ranking places the United States behind India, China, and Uganda for women’s equality in political leadership.


gross kitty

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Sixty percent of sexual assaults have gone unreported since 2009.

Partly due to the shame, stigma, and fear associated with reporting a sexual assault, more than half of sexual assaults since 2009 went unreported. The likelihood of reporting is even lower on college campuses. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act seeks to reconcile this problem by requiring colleges and universities to create transparent prevention programs that deter violence while encouraging more victims to come forward.


Women make up just 25 percent of the computing workforce and 14 percent of the engineering workforce.

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mask

Despite representing more than half of professional-level jobs, women’s leadership within the boardrooms of America has stagnated in recent years. Among the Fortune 500, women lead only 4.6 percent of companies. Investing in women’s talent and nurturing women’s self-confidence are two methods for fostering greater opportunities for women to move up the leadership ranks (not to mention reaping the benefits of women’s perspectives).


boogie monster

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More than 22 million working women do not have paid sick days.

A 2009 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research revealed that among 22 countries highly ranked in economic and human development, the United States is the only country that does not guarantee workers paid sick days. This means that more than 22 million working women lose money when they must miss work for an illness.


Half of working mothers say that they often must take unpaid time off to care for a sick child.

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Beetle Juice

Because women are often primary caregivers, a child’s illness frequently means that the mother is the one who misses work to care for the child. Unfortunately, for half of working mothers, that time is unpaid.


Gravedancer

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In 2014, state legislatures introduced more than 468 bills restricting women’s bodies. And zero bills restricting men’s bodies.

Those who say the fight for women’s rights is over need only look at these two numbers: In the past year alone, more than 468 bills related to restricting women’s health and access to reproductive rights have been introduced in state legislatures. Shockingly, zero restrictions regarding men’s bodies have been brought to the floors of statehouses.


This post was written by AAUW Development Associate Bethany Imondi. AAUW Senior Designer Alli VanKanegan contributed to the post.

Photo courtesy of Fortune Brainstorm, Flickr

What We Can Learn from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Apology

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Photo courtesy of  Bhupinder Nayyar, Flickr

Photo courtesy of Bhupinder Nayyar, Flickr

“A humbling and learning experience.”

That’s how Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella characterized the aftermath of his remarks on women and pay raises. And it’s the kind of experience I hope the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) communities continue to have—the sooner the better.

Employers and senior leaders in the science and tech industries need to recognize the barriers that women in the workforce face when it comes to fair pay, promotions, or simply getting their foot in the door.

Just look at the engineering and computing workforce, where employers can little afford to miss out on the competitive advantage efficient and engaged employees bring. More than 80 percent of all STEM jobs are in these fields, yet women make up just 25 percent of the computing workforce and 14 percent of the engineering workforce. The number of African American, Hispanic, and Native American women is even more discouraging.

From seventh grade science classes to doctorate programs for mathematics, women are told they do not belong in STEM, despite the fact that some of these industries were literally invented by women. Yet, stereotypes about women’s abilities persist, to pervasive negative effect. Studies have shown that when students are told that men are better than women at a skill, the men will outperform women on the subsequent test of that skill. However, when test takers are told that men and women perform equally well in that same skill, the test results even out. In some cases, the women even outperform the men.

Who knew that when we tell girls that math is too hard for them or push women toward pink-collar jobs, they might actually listen? The few who still pursue STEM despite these societal messages find themselves in a chilly climate. A recent survey of 700 women who left the tech industry found that the work environment—not the work itself—chased women out the door.

“Literally 28 of the 30 people in our company were white, straight men under 35,” one front-end developer said in the survey. “I was the only woman. I was one of only two gay people. I was the only person of color other than one guy from Japan. My coworkers called me Halle Berry. As in, ‘Oh look, Halle Berry broke the website today.’ I’m pretty sure for some of them I’m the only actual black person they’ve ever spoken to. Everyone was the same, and no one was like me. How could I stay in that situation?”

And then there’s the wage gap. Yes, even in the high-paying worlds of engineering and computing, women take home smaller paychecks than their male counterparts. A typical male aerospace engineer took home just over $100,000 in 2011, while his female counterpart was paid $83,000. The difference between their salaries could pay off student debt or make a down payment on a house.

Dismantling the barriers women face in these fields is well worth it. Careers in STEM offer promising prospects: challenging and rewarding work in some of the highest-paying careers. These opportunities should be available to women.

But getting more women into STEM fields isn’t only the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. The solutions of this century are likely to come when we tap 100 percent of the population. A diversity of perspectives and approaches will encourage a flourish of innovation and creativity. What company doesn’t want that?

Nadella’s apology offers a glimmer of hope for these industries. “My advice underestimated exclusion and bias — conscious and unconscious — that can hold people back,” he wrote in an internal company memo. “Any advice that advocates passivity in the face of bias is wrong. Leaders need to act and shape the culture to root out biases and create an environment where everyone can effectively advocate for themselves.”

Be the first to know the findings in Solving the Equation.

A woman working in a molecular biology lab
Get the latest data about women in engineering and technology as soon as it becomes available.

A thousand times, yes. Companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo have all publicly acknowledged that they have a problem recruiting, retaining, and ensuring that women thrive within their walls. Now we can start moving toward solutions. Businesses can proactively conduct salary audits to monitor and address gender-based pay difference. They can offer paid family leave and personal medical leave. CEOs and senior leadership can educate themselves about stereotypes and biases and take steps to actively recruit women and address chilly workplace climates.

In research to be released early next year, my colleagues at AAUW will shed more light on the hows, whys, and now-whats behind women’s underrepresentation in computing and engineering. Until then, we hope the conversation around women in STEM continues to be a humbling and learning experience that brings real change for women in these fields.

not enough change

By the Numbers: A Look at the Gender Pay Gap

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Imagine you work a job alongside someone who has less experience than you but still makes more money. Years go by and you look back on a lifetime of work and realize you lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings. Read more »

Blog   |   Career and Workplace   |   40 Comments   |   September 18, 2014