Women Lost Ground in 2020

The newest report on women’s equality in the U.S. warns us why the 28thAmendment (Equal Rights Amendment – ERA) is necessary.  Adam McCann, Financial Writer for Wallethub introduces the 2020 survey on August 24:

“While racial inequality has been in the spotlight during 2020, it’s important to make sure we           don’t overlook gender inequality. Women’s rights in the U.S. have made leaps and bounds since the passage of the 19th Amendment, yet many women still struggle to break the glass ceiling because of unequal treatment in society. Unfortunately, the gender gap in 21st century America has only expanded. In 2020, the U.S. failed to place in the top 10 — or even the top 50 — of the World Economic Forum’s ranking of 153 countries based on gender equality. In fact, the U.S. dropped to 53rd position from its previous rank of 51st.

The workplace provides even more evidence of the issue. Despite their advances toward social equality, women are disproportionately underrepresented in leadership positions. Women make up more than 50 percent of the population, but constitute only around 24 percent of legislators and 25 percent of Fortune 500 board seats.       

This year, women also face inequality when it comes to unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Women have been laid off at a greater rate than men, and are also getting re-employed more slowly. In addition, the share of the workforce that is female is now at its lowest point since 2008.” https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-states-for-women-equality/5835/.

Arizona was fifth in overall ranking and eighth in workplace environment. Our health and education ranking was fifteen; our political empowerment ranking was five.  Arizona tied at fifth in both the smallest workhours and political representation gaps.

Wallethub asked several experts their opinions on why the U.S. was going backwards. The first question focused on the gender gap in health and survival.  The simple and obvious answer is the lack of universal health care coverage. Lack of social support for family care-taking also adds to the mix.

The experts had different ideas on how to fix the gender gap in political empowerment. A quota system was one idea and ending racism was another.  Joe Reger reminds us that leadership qualities are socially coded as masculine and there is a prevalent myth that people succeed according to their merit in the United States and that is simply not true.

The experts also had different ideas about fixing the gender gap in pay e.g. making private salaries public, paid parental leave for both parents, and putting caretaking jobs in the public domain.  Women don’t make less because they don’t work as hard as men, they make less because the playing field is not even.

When asked how to increase female representation in senior management roles in the Fortune 500 and other large, multinational corporations, the experts suggested quotas on boards. These are some practical solutions the 28thAmendment (ERA) can bring to increase fairness. The Arizona state legislature has to pass the ERA in 2021 and join the majority of other states in supporting women’s equality.

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