Sometimes we are asked why we publish the annual Women in Business special in all three island papers.
I’d like to remind our readers that it wasn’t very long ago that our cultural fabric was based on severe restrictions to human rights.
Through the efforts of suffragist Kate Sheppard, New Zealand was the first country to grant women the right to vote in 1893. It took the United States several decades to follow suit. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was signed into law, giving women the right to vote. That wasn’t even 100 years ago.
The women’s movement has roots in the aftermath of World War II, when the lives of women in developed countries changed dramatically. Household technology eased the burdens of homemaking and the growth of the service sector created jobs not dependent on physical strength.
Despite these socioeconomic transformations, cultural attitudes and legal barriers still reinforced sexual inequalities. It wasn’t until 1965, with the backing of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that women gained access to all the same jobs as men, and employers with long histories of discrimination were held accountable. In the following years, divorce laws were liberalized; employers were barred from firing pregnant women; and record numbers of women started winning seats in political offices.
But the gains for women in the 1960s and 70s only went so far. Today, just one in five members of congress is a woman. Today, on average, a woman earns 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, and women’s median annual earnings are $10,800 less than men’s, according to a report released by the Senate Joint Economic Committee Democratic Staff last April.
In 2017, 105 women hold seats in the United States Congress, comprising 19.6 percent of the 535 members; 21 women make up 21 percent of the United States Senate, and 84 women make 19.3 percent of the United States House of Representatives.
We will be saluting our modern business women in the 10/18 edition. Consider buying an ad to celebrate the women making a difference today. Call Colleen on Orcas 360-376-4500 or Cali on San Juan and Lopez at 360-378-5696.