EDITORIAL: Empowering women and the work left to be done

Women have made huge strides in just one generation. Now, the average college campus has more women attending than men. More women are also getting into business, now virtually matching the amount of men that do.

However, not everything is perfect. Women still only make $.77 for every dollar that a man makes, doing equal work. Though women are making headway in management, now accounting for 50 percent of all managerial positions, they still lag behind at top levels, representing only 2.4 percent of chief executives of Fortune 500 companies.

Why the lag? What’s holding women from breaking through the next barrier?

Maybe it’s how we treat our daughters.

Most institutionalized barriers are now gone, but what about cultural ones? Are we raising our girls in a way that might discourage them?

Those of you with daughters, pay closer attention to how you’re treating them. Are you spending effort on their education? Are you supporting them in what they do?

Bill Gates once spoke in Saudi Arabia to a segregated audience. Only one-fifth of the audience consisted of women and they were separated from the men by a curtain. A man asked Gates if it was realistic to hope that Saudi Arabia could become one of the Top 10 countries for technology by 2010. Gates replied, “Well, if you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country, you’re not going to get too close to the Top 10.”

While the situation in the United States is nowhere near as bad as in Saudi Arabia, it’s important to note that our girls have just as much talent and worth as our boys. They deserve more than to be told that their interests don’t fit their gender, that science or technology is a “boy” thing, and that they’re not allowed to be interested in it. Our girls and the things they can build are amazing — they just need to be put in the right environment, so they can succeed. Please keep that in mind. (end)

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