10 Shocking Stats About Women in Business—Featuring Commentary from a Millennial Working Woman


It’s easy to think of the collective fight for women’s rights in the United States in terms of an older movement—largely taking place during the period of the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 through finally earning the right to vote in 1920. While we’ve made great advances since 1920—the business world has not entirely played catch-up. Strong, competent women are out there—we’ve recently highlighted some examples in the tech sector—and it’s high time they earned the full recognition they deserve for their work. The 10 shocking stats about women in business I’m about to share explain how far we still have to go.

The following set of stats is courtesy of Business Insider—reported by Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg (based on 2013 findings).

In 1970, women made $0.59 for every dollar men made. In 2013 it was $0.77.
43 years later and not even a difference of 20 cents. I’m no math whiz, but even I know that equates to an increase of less than one penny per year. 

21% of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women.
Which comes out to approximately 105. Less than half. . .even less than one quarter. A tip for companies looking to promote from within: more women in entry level positions would lead to more female executives down the metaphorical road.

A website titled Women On Business offers more (based on 2015 findings).

At the current rate of progression, women won’t reach pay equality with men until 2058.
In other words, when I reach age 69 and am possibly eligible for retirement. Millennial women, be prepared to work a long time to earn your equal pay—unless, of course, you want to fight to change the landscape.

In the United States, 19.2% of company board directors are women.
Norway, with 35.5% and Finland, with 29.9% both have us beat. As a country that fought so hard back in the 1920s for the right to vote, men and women should both lobby to give the best opportunities to women.

Of course, the 2014 United States Census provides its own set of eye-opening statistics.

Women-owned businesses make up 28.7% of all businesses nationwide.

Again, less than half. Perhaps women aren’t taking the initiative to start businesses—but why is the landscape as such that they don’t feel empowered to take said initiative?

11.7% of women-owned businesses had paid employees. . . while 88.3 had no paid employees.
Yes, women can do it all. . . and seemingly without any paid help. We need to speak up and indicate that we need help.

Catalyst.org provides a few more—recently collected in April 2016.

61% of all mothers with children under the age of three are in the labor force.
During the Boomer generation, working mothers were almost unheard of—today, they are the norm. Women need to work. It is no longer a choice. Jobs that pay well must be available. These women are not just raising their families but also providing for their families.

Women make up 46.8% of the entire United States labor force.
That’s nearly half—so, it’s not to say that we aren’t out there working.

And of course, the Department of Labor has current statistics available on its website.

In 2014, the national average weekly earnings for men totaled $871. For women, it totaled $719.
The inequality even shows in this category.

Women—combined full-time, wage and salary workers—made a median salary that adds up to 82.5% of a man’s median salary in the same types of professions.
This statistic varies by occupation—but the report from the Department of Labor takes the average of salaries in professions including computer/IT, legal, education, architecture, construction and healthcare—to name a few.

It can be said that we are still playing catch-up from our predecessors and these statistics are skewed as a result—but the Seneca Falls Convention took place in 1848. That’s no longer a valid excuse—enough time has passed since women’s equality (in any forum) was not the norm. The hypothetical question to be raised here—as a result of these shocking statistics—is as follows: what are millennials in the workforce, both men and women alike, going to do to change these statistics in the future? Both have to work together. Millennials must take it upon themselves to support equal pay for both sexes—as well as equal opportunity. And it’s not only the responsibility of men, either. We are all responsible—men by discounting women as worthy colleagues and supervisors, and women for holding themselves back in the workplace.


About Author

Mary Grace holds a Master of Arts in Public Communications and Media Studies from Fordham University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Salve Regina University. She spends her time in the editorial department at the National Association of Professional Women by day, and is a community thespian and wannabe politician and activist by night. Her favorite things include trips to Walt Disney World, drinking too much coffee, browsing Sephora, her Apple Watch and her "nephew," Luis.

1 Comment

  1. LOVE it. Well, don’t love the actual statistics (those make me angry) but love the fact that you’re calling this out. I think your point about hiring more entry-level women in business roles is on point. If hiring and career advancement is a funnel, you need to treat diversity recruitment like lead generation and attract (and maybe convince) more women to apply to these roles.

    Definitely going to link to this post in my blog about the best career advice sites for millennial women: http://www.lp-network.org/advice-from-lp-experts

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