The internet defines Social Empowerment as the process of developing a sense of autonomy [independence] and self-confidence, and acting individually and collectively to change social relationships and the institutions and discourses that exclude poor people, keeping them in poverty.
To sum it up, social empowerment is the process of accessing opportunities and resources in order to make the best personal choice (what to eat, wear or where to live), while have some control over their environment.
Social empowerment = greater personal choices
Modern day society still hasn’t accepted the positive impact that women make in the workforce and as equally beneficial (if not more) contributors to the economy.
Women Account for a Majority of the U.S Population
- 50.8 percent of the United State’s population are women
- Women earn close to 60 percent of undergraduate and master’s degrees
- Of those degrees, 47 percent are law degrees, 48 percent are medical degrees
- Women make more than 44 percent of master’s degrees in business and management, with 37 percent in MBA
- Women make up 47 percent of the United States’ labor force, 59 percent of college-educated, entry-level workforce
- Even with the stats proven that women dominate professional-level jobs with 52 percent, American women are substantially lagging behind our male counterparts in overall leadership positions
- Women represent 14.6 percent among executive officers, 4.6 percent Fortune 500 CEOs and 8.1 percent are top earners
- Women hold 16.9 percent of Fortune 500 board seats
- In financial services, women make up 54.2 percent of the labor force, however only 12.4 percent are executive officers, with 18.3 percent of board directors; none of which are CEOs
- Women account for 78.4 percent of the labor force in health care and social assistance; however 14.6 percent are executive officers and 12.4 percent are board directors. Once again, none are CEOs
- Women are 45.4 percent of associates in the legal field—with only 25 percent of nonequity partners and 15 percent of equity partners.
- Women comprise 34.3 percent of all physicians and surgeons, yet only 15.9 percent of medical school deans
- In IT (information technology), women hold a mere 9 percent of management positions and represent only 14 percent of senior management positions at Silicon Valley startups
The U.S vs. Other Countries
- Women are doing pretty well among the private sectors
- Women are number six in women’s economic participation and opportunities on the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Gender Gap Index of 136 countries
- The percentage of female legislators, in particular to the public sector – women are lagging behind
- The U.S is currently ranked 60th in women’s political empowerment on the Gender Gap Index
- Women in national parliaments is 21 percent – the world average—slightly above the 18 percent in the U.S. House of Representatives
- Finland, Iceland, and Norway lead [the way], with 43 percent, 40 percent, and 40 percent female legislators – in 2012
- It’s estimated that the U.S, with it’s winner-take-all voting system; rather than a system of proportional representation and no quotas – will take until [nearly] the end of this century to reach a level of 40 percent legislative participation by women
Underrepresentation of Women of Color
Women of color face an even wider gap in corporate leadership roles. Women of color account for only 36.3 percent of the United States’ female population and approximately 18 percent of the entire population. Women make up approximately one-third of the female workforce.
- Women of color occupy only 11.9 percent of managerial and professional positions; with 5.3 percent as African American, 2.7 percent as Asian American, and 3.9 percent as Latina.
- Women of color account for only 3.2 percent of the board seats of Fortune 500 companies
- Yet,more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies have no women of color as board directors at all
To Sum it All Up…
Despite the fact that women outnumber men on college campuses (since 1988), they have earned at least a third of law degrees (since 1980), with a third of medical school students (by 1990) – and, since 2002 – continue to outnumber men in earning undergraduate business degrees since then. Yet, women still have not moved up to positions of prominence and power in America.
In a broad range of fields, their presence in top leadership positions—as equity law partners, medical school deans, and corporate executive officers—remains stuck at a mere 10 percent to 20 percent. Their “share of voice”—the average proportion of their representation on op-ed pages and corporate boards, as TV pundits, and in Congress—is just 15 percent.
In fact, estimation shows that – at the current rate of change – it will take until 2085 for women to reach parity with men in leadership roles in the U.S.