Are Women Taking Over the World? Author and Public Speaker Kelly Hoey Is Cautiously Optimistic

Evidence shows women are owning the job market in 12 places.
  • Women continue to outnumber men at U.S. colleges and attain the majority of degrees.
  • Now, a GOBankingRates study has found that women are dominating the job market in certain areas, too.
  • After reviewing this research, author and public speaker Kelly Hoey shared her hope for the future.

My first career was law. I graduated from law school way back in 1991. My class was (or was close to) equally divided between male and female students. So, even then, back in the day, we were talking about the impending transformative changes to the profession as women reached parity in numbers with male colleagues.

Take a big step forward to 2019, what’s changed? I’m a global advisory board member of Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF), an organization dedicated to women attorneys from the largest law firms and corporate law departments in the United States. WILEF launched their gold standard initiative in 2011 with an emphasis on the actual leadership roles achieved by women equity partners, versus focusing on a ranking or listing based on progressive policies or practices of the firm or the overall number or percentage of women in the firm. In 2018, just 46 firms were certified by WILEF.

Related: How This Woman Exec Is Shaking Up the Finance World in the Best Way

The Workplace Is Changing

Change can occur at a glacial pace — especially when the lack of encouragement to continue (i.e., role models, mentors, sponsors) in your chosen profession is compounded by the absence of female colleagues in the industries and companies you interact with. As a corporate attorney dealing with investment bankers and corporate executives, I was frequently one of the few women in the room (whether it was a boardroom or in one instance, a packed courtroom of over 200 attorneys and advisors — when I was just one of the two women in the room).

Change is essential. Several studies in the past few years have noted the positive impact an increase in female labor force participation would have on GDP — including a McKinsey Global Institute study which concluded that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality.

Read On: How Women Can Close the Gender Wage Gap

And change, I believe, is inevitable. In spite of ongoing challenges (plus reversals in recent years in women’s labor force gains), I see bright spots on the horizon for women pursuing their careers — as well as the communities they live in. I’ve written about Aruba before, a country where women can be found overwhelmingly in leadership roles (and across all levels of the labor force). Now a recent GOBankingRates* survey “Places Where Women Are Taking Over the Job Market” reinforces my optimism.

Some Cities Are Changing Faster Than Others

From a list of 200 cities, selected based on several factors (including the number of women in the labor force and median earnings for women), GOBankingRates discovered that in these twelve U.S. cities, women comprise a greater proportion of the labor force than men.

  1. New Orleans
  2. Savannah
  3. Durham
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Columbia
  6. Richmond
  7. Charleston
  8. Philadelphia
  9. Boston
  10. Tallahassee
  11. Cambridge
  12. Greensboro

What’s happening in New Orleans, Durham, Philadelphia and the other cities? Why are those communities finding success in retaining more women in the workforce? Why are women making gains there and not elsewhere? Is it the industry clusters (education, healthcare, entertainment, government), progressive employers, startup activity or some other combination of factors like historical, economic or social policy? This is a survey worth delving into beyond the data, as I suspect each community’s story is as unique as their geography, and in those stories, you may find inspirational nuggets to transform your career, company or community.

Click to read about which of your favorite companies are helmed by women.

More From Our Smart Money Squad

We make money easy. Get weekly email updates, including expert advice to help you Live Richer™.

*GOBankingRates determined these cities based on several factors, including: (1) Percentage of women in the labor force; (2) percentage of men in the labor force; (3) percentage increase in women in job market over the last five and ten years; (4) percentage increase in men in job market over the last five and ten years;  (5) median earnings for women; and (6) median earnings for men, all sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau. Top industries were also sourced from the Census Bureau. List of cities was generated based on the largest 200 cities by population in the U.S.