March is Women’s History Month, a time to reflect on the accomplishments of great women in the past and appreciate the obstacles they’ve overcome to get us where we are today.
Demographically speaking, we’re actually pretty well off. According to data from 2013, there are 161 million women living in the United States, as opposed to 156 million men.
But even though we’re the majority, we’re definitely not treated like it.
It’s simple. Throughout history, it’s always been a man’s world. Gains have been made, but I think it’s important that now, especially during a month dedicated to celebrating women who have struggled for their rights in the past, it is important that we look ahead to what women will have to face in the future.
Because right now, that future is looking pretty grim.
Even though women make up a majority of the population, they compose only 19.4 percent of the U.S. Congress.
Even though women compose nearly half of the country’s labor force, they are paid, on average, 79 percent of what men make.
Even though women appear prominently in advertisements ranging from laundry detergent to erectile dysfunction medication, they make up only 3 percent of creative directors at advertisement agencies.
To be fair, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of women in many occupations. Compared with statistics from 1970, women have seen advances in many careers, such as accounting, pharmacy, law and health care.
But every step forward just doesn’t seem to be big enough.
Women are still severely underrepresented in many industries, especially STEM fields.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently found that while jobs performed by mostly men are dominated by men, STEM careers where there are more women are closer to being gender neutral.
For example, the top STEM career dominated by men is mechanical engineering, where 91.2 percent of workers in the field are male.
Psychology, the top STEM career dominated by women, is still only composed of a workforce that is 71.9 percent female.
Women expect to be passed over for jobs and promotions by men, some of whom might even be less qualified candidates, even though they are more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree.
Even at companies considered to be progressive, such as Google and Twitter, out of all of the companies’ tech roles, only 17 and 10 percent, respectively, are held by women.
All of these numbers and statistics point to the long road ahead women still have to face.
In fact, many have a much harder journey, as these figures are far worse for transgender women and women of color.
Women face this kind of sexism, misogyny and discrimination every single day, in almost every aspect of their lives.
They face it in their careers, in their homes and even just walking down the street.
And although we are winning little fights every day, and there’s even the possibility that the next president of the United States could be a women, we as a country need to be doing more.
We need to encourage young girls to pursue careers in the math and science fields.
We need to elect ambitious young women to our city councils and state legislatures.
We need to call out any instance of sexism we witness, no matter how small it might seem.
That’s the only way we’re going to advance, if we, as a nation of men and women, decide to make the conscious effort in this feminist fight.
Don’t you think that looking back, it seems almost ludicrous that there was once a time when women couldn’t become scientists, vote in an election or run for president?
That’s how I hope future generations look back on the state of women’s rights today, with disbelief at the absurdity and insensibility of it all.
Deanna Ferrante is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @deannaferrante or email her at DeannaF@centralfloridafuture.com.