Achieving equality as a woman in the United States today is a complex subject. Despite significant progress in almost every aspect of our lives, women of all backgrounds still face challenges that are made more difficult simply because of their gender.
To solve these issues, we must first understand them. Without a firm grasp of the contributing factors, historical significance, and impact of these concerns, we cannot hope to make any improvement in the future.
The Top 5 Issues Women and Girls Face in 2023
The best way to understand what’s holding women back today is to break it down issue by issue. Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the biggest challenges contributing to inequality for women and girls in 2023.
1. Intimate partner violence
In the United States, 1 in 4 women experiences violence in intimate partnerships. This issue affects 10 million men and women, with women making up the majority of that figure. For women and girls who experience violence, intimidation, threats, or verbal abuse at home, the situation can feel almost impossible to escape. After all, when there’s violence happening in your safe place, where else can you go?
2. Economic injustice and the pay gap
Being able to work and provide for themselves and their families is essential to promoting women’s freedom and independence.
In the past few years, women’s employment changed irrevocably. Between February and April 2020, women lost 1.5 million more jobs than men and have struggled to re-enter the workforce due to increased caregiving burdens.
Plus, men still out-earn women, with a pay gap that ranges between 8% and up to 27% depending on factors like age, industry, and even race.
3. Women’s representation in leadership
Women being represented in political, public, and corporate leadership is essential to any modern society. However, in the United States today, women are still vastly underrepresented in many critical leadership positions.
- In government, women represent between 18% to 28% of all elected positions.
- Women represent only 22.7% of law firm partners
- Only 12.5% of CFOs in Fortune 500 companies are female
While women’s access to education has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, the small number of women in leadership positions shows that we need to continue offering women not just education but also mentorship and support to help them reach the very top of the political, corporate, and public ladder.
This ongoing lack of career role models for girls will continue to perpetuate this cycle, making it difficult to stop in the next generation.
4. Racial injustice
Women’s rights and racial justice have always been two issues that intersect broadly.Studies have shown that women of color are a critically vulnerable population, as they are disproportionately affected by everything from mental health challenges to intimate partner violence and other adverse life experiences that can stand in the way of their success.
5. LGBTQ+ rights
Another incredibly vulnerable population in the United States today is LGBTQ+ women. Many of these women face discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, which impacts their physical and mental health and their access to jobs, housing, healthcare, and so much more.
Addressing These Issues Through Women’s Education
While addressing these issues is a monumental task, one of the best ways to see improvements across the board is to invest in education for women and girls.
By prioritizing education and making it easy to seek out both formal and informal educational and mentorship opportunities, we can help challenge the status quo, showing girls of all income levels and backgrounds how much they can achieve.
One of the best opportunities for education available outside of formal schooling is our Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women. This program annually awards more than $2.8 million in educational grants to women experiencing poverty, intimate partner violence, or any other issues holding them back. It enables recipients full financial autonomy to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education or skills training, such as tuition, books, childcare and transportation.
Another opportunity is through our Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls program, which gives girls the tools they need to achieve their education and career goals, empowering them to break cycles of poverty, violence, and abuse. The curriculum-based program is tailored to helping girls identify their personal values, explore career options, create achievable goals, turn failures into successes, balance stress and put their dreams into action.
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Jordana Weiss is a freelance content writer based in Seattle, Washington. She specializes in planning and writing high-performing blogs, articles, and web content for growth-oriented organizations. To get in touch with her, visit her website at www.jordanaweiss.com.