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American women have seen significant shifts in job opportunities over the past half-century, with gains in labor force participation, wages, and representation in high-paying jobs. However, progress has slowed recently, leaving large gender gaps in top government and business leadership positions. According to Pew Research Center data and analyses, we reveal that while we’ve seen some commendable gains in workplace representation, gaps still exist in places that matter.

  • Women now make up 47% of the U.S. civilian labor force, a notable increase from 30% in 1950, although growth has plateaued since the latter half of the 20th century
  • despite comprising a majority of college-educated individuals in the workforce, women remain underrepresented in top leadership roles across various industries
  • In 2022, women were the sole or primary breadwinner in 16% of opposite-sex marriages, up from 5% in 1972.

These findings highlight shifting gender dynamics within households and the growing financial contributions of women to family incomes. However, they also underscore the persistent gender pay gap, with women typically earning 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. This figure has remained largely unchanged over the past two decades. Moreover, women continue to face disparities in accessing top leadership roles, both in government and business sectors.

As we commemorate Women’s History Month, it’s crucial for companies to revisit corporate data not only to enhance gender diversity and representation but also to address existing inequities in pay and promotion practices. To advance your company’s gender equity journey, check out our checklists, How Companies Can Get Ahead Amidst Changing Gender Norms and Understanding and Promoting Pay Equity.

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The Editor

Ngozi Okeh is an experienced leader with a history of driving efforts to conceptualize, define, assess and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as strategic business processes. Ngozi is currently the Director of DEI at a leading marketing technology company where she develops and executes enterprise-wide DEI initiatives through rigorous strategic planning efforts, community partnerships, leadership collaboration, strategy evaluation, and careful management of communication and buy-in as well as policies and procedures.  Previously, she worked at an independent mortgage bank, where… View Profile