Today, there are more women in the workforce than ever before. For example, in 2000, men made up 53.4 percent of the workforce and women made up 46.5 percent. In 2018, women represented 46.9 percent of the workforce and by 2050, the percentage of women is expected to increase to 47.7 percent.
Still, despite the increasing population numbers and the fact that women are more likely than men to earn a bachelor’s degree by age 31, there remains major differences between men and women in terms of wages and earning potential in the modern workforce.
More Women Participate in the Workforce
2016 Census data shows the following workforce participation figures:
- Ages 25 to 34: 74.5 percent of women and 88.8 percent of men were in the workforce
- Ages 35 to 44: 74.5 percent of women and 90.6 percent of men were in the workforce
- Ages 45 to 54: 73.9 percent of women and 86.3 percent of men were in the workforce
However, census data projections for workforce participation in 2024 reveal an increase among the 25 to 34 and 45 to 54 age cohorts for women, while participation among men of all ages will decrease.
- Ages 25 to 34: 74.9 percent of women and 87.0 percent of men will be in the workforce
- Ages 35 to 44: 73.9 percent of women and 90.1 percent of men will be in the workforce
- Ages 45 to 54: 77.0 percent of women 84.4 percent of men will be in the workforce
State Employment Differences
While there’s no dispute that more women are college educated and hold professional and executive roles today than in decades past, there is still a wage gap between the sexes. Pew Research estimates that the gap narrowed from $0.36 in 1980 to about $0.15 cents in 2018. However, the figures can be quite different on a state level, depending on the region.
The optimal areas of the country for women’s wages include:
- District of Columbia
- New York
The states struggling to meet the gender wage gap include:
- West Virginia
A state-by-state view highlights additional employment inconsistency:
- “The Economic Status of Women in Texas,” found that, based on current trends, women in Texas will not be paid equally to men until 2049 and today earn $0.79 for every dollar a man earns. The data revealed that men’s median annual earnings are $9,600 more than women’s earnings.
- For women working in Colorado, their wages won’t equal men’s wages until 2057, and they earn $0.86 for every dollar a man earns.
- In Florida, women earn about $5,000 less than men in median annual earnings and will not see equal pay until 2038.
- Women in New York earn $0.89 for every dollar a man makes, with a median annual earnings difference of $5,500.
- It will be 2070 when women working in Washington will see equal pay, and men enjoy $13,000 more in median annual earnings.
The Evolution of Women’s Roles
Around the globe, the number of females in senior and executive roles is growing. This year marks the highest number of females in senior management roles at 29 percent. Across all S&P 500 companies, women comprise 44.7 percent of all employees, while 5 percent are CEOs, and 26.5 percent are executives or senior level managers.
Women’s roles in the workforce continue to grow in terms of numbers and job level. While there is still work to be done, progress has been made, and women will continue to break barriers for positive change.