Women’s History Month is dedicated to honoring the contributions of women to history, culture, and society. It is also about raising awareness of the challenges that women have faced and continue to face, including discrimination, unequal pay, and lack of representation in positions of power.
It got its start from International Women’s Day, which has been observed since 1910. Women's History Week was then instituted in 1978 in an effort to begin adding women's history into educational curricula.
Then in 1987, the National Women's History Project successfully petitioned Congress to include all of March as a celebration of the economic, political and social contributions of women, and it successfully passed.
Women in the Workforce
Throughout history, women have played a vital role in the workforce, even if their contributions have often gone unrecognized. During World War II, for example, women filled jobs left vacant by men who were serving in the military. After the war, many women continued to work outside the home, but they were often limited to jobs that were considered “women’s work,” such as secretaries, nurses, and teachers.
However, the women’s liberation movement in the ‘60s and ‘70s helped to break down some of these barriers, and women began to enter a wider variety of professions as we see them today.
Progress Made, but Challenges Remain
In the last few decades, significant progress has been made in advancing women’s rights and promoting gender equality. In 2021, it was reported that women were close to half (47.0%) of the total labor force, and more women than ever before are entering traditionally male-dominated fields such as in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
However, many challenges still remain, especially around the wage gap. In fact, beginning at age 5, the poverty rate is higher among women than men over the course of their lifetimes, and women still continue to earn less than men for the same work.
Catalyst reported that “Compared to every $1 earned by White men in 2020, Black women earned 64 cents, Latinas earned 57 cents, and White women earned 79 cents.”
The gender wage gap is one aspect of women’s history that should be left in the past; the time is now to move toward wage equity.
Pay Transparency on the Horizon
Wage transparency in the United States has been a topic of growing interest in recent years, with many advocating for increased openness and equity in pay structures. There have been a few states and cities that have mandated pay scales posted in job positions, but it's still a debate in other areas of the country.
At UnifyWork, we believe that pay transparency is critical to addressing the wage gap across gender, race, disabilities, and more. This is why in our platform we mandate pay range on every job posting so candidates can earn their worth, as well as enable wage negotiations in the platform.
Women’s History Month is an important reminder of the contributions that women have made throughout history and the ongoing struggle for gender equality. While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to ensure that women are treated fairly and have equal opportunities in all aspects of life. It is important to continue to raise awareness of these issues and work towards a more just and equitable society for all.