Long gone are the days when Rosie the Riveter and her can-do attitude would just enter the workforce to help out the boys. Modern-day Rosie would statistically be working full time whether or not she had children — and possibly be leading the company.
The sociological shift that was women marching in the workforce began relatively recently. That being said, there is still a long way to go in the labor force to see equity in categories such as leadership and pay, as well as having a voice to set standards as to how women are treated in the workplace.
Top Statistics of Women in the Workforce
Today, though it fluctuates from year to year, women make up approximately 58.4% of the workforce. That statistic has gone down from 59.2% before the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering women are over half of the labor force, it is interesting to see how other statistics stack up.
Women in the Workforce Leadership Statistics
Change comes from the top, but the catch is that in order to make any change, you first need to get to the top. Here are some statistics for women in leadership. Internationally, only 28 countries have 30 women as either Heads of State or Heads of Government. Here are some breakdowns for female leadership and representation in the U.S.
Women in the United States Workforce Leadership Statistics
|Position of Leadership
|Number of Women Currently Serving
|Overall Percentage Approximation
|CEO of Fortune 500
Women in the Workforce Financial Statistics
It’s no secret that women in the workplace earn less for their time than their male coworkers and counterparts, and that’s not because fewer women are working — as of August 2022, 152,000 women over the age of 20 had joined the labor force. When analyzing pay equity, gender is not the only factor to consider, as other variables include race and level of education.
Women in the United States Workforce Financial Statistics
|Fraction of Dollar Earned Compared to Men
|Female workforce overall
|African American women
|Hispanic or Latina women
On average, the gender pay gap also is affected by the level of education. For example, income for women with a high school diploma or less has a more significant pay gap than that of women with a bachelor’s degree.
Other Challenges Women Face in the Workplace
Besides the previously outlined statistics that affect women in the workforce — such as female representation and leadership and the gender pay gap for all women, but more so for women of color — there are several other challenges women face in the workplace.
- Sexual harassment: This form of harassment includes, but is not limited to, verbal, visual and physical harassment. It is estimated that nearly 35% of women working in the corporate sector have experienced sexual harassment. This statistic is reflective only of reported cases — it is also estimated that almost 75% of women who have experienced sexual harassment have not reported it due to fear of being fired or other retaliation.
- Unemployment penalty: There is a longer unemployment penalty for women considered to be of childbearing and raising years. Essentially, this means that on average, when women take longer leaves, they have more difficulty than men getting rehired or reemployed in another position.
- Pregnancy discrimination: Even though the The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers from firing or discriminating against women due to pregnancy, it is estimated that still nearly 54,000 women lose their jobs annually due to such discrimination.
There are many facts and figures that go into assessing what it means to be a woman in the workplace, but the benefits of what an entire gender brings to the workforce cannot be calculated. Historically, women have been considered a free labor force where running a home or raising children was concerned.
Though progress has been made, there is a ways to go before inequity in the workplace becomes a thing of the past and not just another statistic.
FAQHere are the answers to some common questions about women in the workforce.
- Why are women important in the workplace?
- When women are 49.7% of the world population, it would only make sense to be represented in the workplace equally. In order to have a seat at the table where protocols surrounding hours, pay, sexual harassment and family leave are made, representation is crucial.
- What does it mean to be a woman in the workplace?
- Though there is no simple answer for this, if you are a woman in the workplace, it means your talent and drive got you into this position no matter your gender. You often represent more than yourself, but by pushing for results and change for yourself, you are expanding the possibilities for future generations of women.
- What are the challenges facing women in the workplace?
- There is a multitude of challenges women face in the workplace, including:
- – Gender pay gap
- – Disproportionate lack of female representation and leadership
- – Sexual harassment
- – Unemployment penalty
- – Pregnancy discrimination
- – Period discrimination
- What three issues do women still face in the workplace?
- There are many issues women still face in the workplace, but three of the main ones are sexual harassment, underemployment penalty and pregnancy discrimination.
Information is accurate as of Jan. 6, 2023.
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- Newsweek. 2022. "Woman Shares How She Lost Jobs After Childbirth Despite Discrimination Laws."
- Fortune. 2022. "More than a million women have left the workforce. The Fed needs to consider them as it defines ‘full employment’."
- UN Women. 2022. "Facts and figures: Women’s leadership and political participation."
- Center for American Women and Politics. "Women Serving in the 118th Congress (2023-2025)."
- U.S. Government Accountability Office. 2022. "Women in the Workforce: The Gender Pay Gap Is Greater for Certain Racial and Ethnic Groups and Varies by Education Level."