Improved gender equality in education lacks translation to female leadership

In looking at several high paying professions—superintendents, CEOs and politicians—the gender disparity between men and women is still striking, according to the Harvard Gazette. 

While women make up over 75 percent of teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade, they only consistute a quarter of superintendents. In addition, the Harvard Gazette continues that women still comprise solely 4 percent of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies and account for a mere 19 percent of Congress, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers. 

In recent years, the number of women with equal rights to education has increased, however, the presence of women in the labor force has begun to either stabilize or fall. While there are more women in graduate school than men and the number of females in both medical school as well as law school has risen significantly, according to the Harvard Gazette, our country is still a ways away from substantial progress. 

Almost a quarter of teenage females said they preferred male politicians over female leaders, while only 8 percent preferred women leaders. Forty percent of teenage males preferred male politicians and only 4 percent preferred women leaders, the Harvard Gazette reports. 

These statistics are haunting. Even at a middle school age, children already have preconceived notions on which gender they think should hold positions of power and which should not. In order to create a healthy environment for both men and women alike, it is essential that children are rid of bias as soon as possible. 

It is easy for children to adapt, and the Harvard Gazette notes that simply bringing awareness to children that societal assumptions are not usually correct can make a tremendous difference. By teaching children that both genders are equally able to hold positions of power, the future generation will be able to become a more accepting. 

Evoking change and increasing the number of women in the workforce cannot end with educating and inspiring children; more must be done. Often women find complications in participating in the labor force in conjunction with starting a family. Since society places a lot of emphasis on a woman’s role in raising children, it can often become difficult for females to be taken seriously once they become a mother. Even though this is completely prejudiced and unjust, it is a problem that needs to be solved.

In order for women to achieve the positions of power they deserve in the professional workforce, there needs to be more options and assistance for women with children or family obligations.

It is crucial that the United States take steps to decrease the gender disparity in the workforce and work to empower women in doing so. We must encourage children to understand the confinements of gender and how to break them. In addition, mothers must receive increased job flexibility to foster gender equality in workplaces. 

Lastly, it should be standard that men also take paternity leaves as to lessen the domestic responsibilities for women. Parenthood should be seen as a common thread that all members of the labor force enjoy as opposed to something strictly for females.

Steps must be taken to increase the number of women in power in the workforce and to change the way those women are treated in those positions. While it is productive that more women are furthering their education, it is crucial that their education translates into the job they desire.

By teaching children the importance of equality and having more options available for women, the road to workplace equality can become a reality.