The Good News
- Women made up 49.9% of the workforce in the
(October 2009) USA
- Women make up the majority of professional workers (51% in the
- Women attain more than 60% of University degrees in the
- The shift from manufacturing to service-led economies means there is a growing demand for women’s labour (“war for talent”).
- Increasing women’s participation in the Labour market boosts the GDP (Goldman Sachs).
- Home-working and flexible-working are increasingly fashionable in the labour market.
- Entrepreneurial women now employ more people than the largest 500 American companies combined.
- Low cost state intervention in terms of school opening hours and after-school clubs is effective.
The Bad News
- Educationally, women lag behind men in subjects like engineering and computer science.
- Women are paid significantly less than men on average
- Women are still forced to choose between motherhood and careers.
- High cost of childcare arrangements means children are paying the price.
- State intervention (like in
Norway& ) can be counter productive with more women ending up working in the public sector than the private sector. (75% of Swedish women work in the public sector). Sweden
- Women are severely under-represented at the top of organisations:
- Only 2% of bosses of
’s Fortune 500 are women America
- Only 5 of bosses of the
’s FTSE 100 companies are women UK
- Fewer than 13% of
’s Board members are women America
So what would I like to see?
- I would ask for the state intervention where it is low-cost and offers everyone, regardless of their profession and income status, the same chance – e.g. extending school opening hours, lessening the lengthy summer breaks and offering more supervised after-school places for every child.
- I would ask for more state-supported childcare places and tax breaks for child carers.
- Improvement in standards and regulation of the child care industry.
- Greater encouragement of women to take-up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers
- Highlighting and show-casing of flexible working patterns and tax incentives for greater business take-up of such practices
- Greater emphasis on female entrepreneurship by industry bodies and development agencies (e.g. women-only seed funds, more women bank managers, female mentors, women only training and business coaching services etc)
- Statutory affirmative action for greater female representation for the public sector and larger companies, i.e. those most likely to afford such measures, in the next 10-20 year period
- More outsourcing of public sector contracts to control the growth of the public sector and encourage entrepreneurship.
- More funding of ‘last step’ initiatives to help propel women into the boardroom.
- Mentoring and coaching of senior women so they can create a legacy framework for women who come after them.
I am pleased to say that 2010 will see a lot of these initiatives being launched, so hopefully my 2011 list will be a little shorter.
We did it! The rich world’s quiet revolution: women are gradually taking over the workplace
At a time when the world is short of causes for celebration, here is a candidate: within the next few months women will cross the 50% threshold and become the majority of the American workforce.
Female power: Across the rich world more women are working than ever before. Coping with this change will be one of the great challenges of the coming decades
The economic empowerment of women across the rich world is one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years. It is remarkable because of the extent of the change: millions of people who were once dependent on men have taken control of their own economic fates.
Womenomics: Feminist management theorists are flirting with some dangerous arguments
The late Paul Samuelson once quipped that “women are just men with less money”. As a father of six, he might have added something about women’s role in the reproduction of the species. But his aphorism is about as good a one-sentence summary of classical feminism as you can get.