Gender Equity…You’ve Come A Long Way … Maybe

OPINION
Jacksonville Journal-Courier, Ill.

You’ve come a long way … maybe.

Although the proverbial glass ceiling keeping women from rising to the top has been raised a few feet over the years, there remains a lot of distance to go.

The United States has actually back-tracked on its progression, going from number 22 among the nations of the world last year to number 23 this year, according to the Global Gender Gap Index by the World Economic Forum.

That puts us behind a list of nations including Iceland, the United Kingdom, Germany — even Burundi.

Since 2011, the United States has fallen from number 17 on the list, which measures such things as educational attainment, political empowerment and economic opportunity.

In wage equality, the nation plummets to 67. On average, women still make just 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.

Why is this important?

As researchers at Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley who compiled the report explain, “Countries and companies can be competitive only if they develop, attract and retain the best talent, both male and female. While governments have an important role to play in creating the right policy framework for improving women’s access and opportunities, it is also the imperative of companies to create workplaces where the best talent can flourish. Civil society, educators and media also have an important role to play in both empowering women and engaging men in the process.”

Illinois, on the bright side, is faring better than most states, especially in political representation and life expectancy.

But the state, which is 14th overall in the nation, still has a lot of work ahead in educational attainment and executive positions being held by women.

WalletHub conducted its own analysis of the findings and put Hawaii at the top of the list and Wyoming at the bottom in gender-based equality.

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