In this day and age, celebrating women in the workplace shouldn’t be controversial, and perhaps the holiday itself isn’t. For modern women, however, International Women’s Day (IWD) means more than recognizing women’s valuable contributions to businesses across the globe; nowadays, the fight for equal pay and promotions carries on, and IWD is a critical factor in keeping this issue on the front burner.
International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8th of each year, is an official holiday in 28 countries throughout Eastern Europe, China, Russia, Ukraine, and others. IWD is also recognized as a non-official holiday in Portugal, Italy, Brazil, and several other countries. However, honoring a day for working women is not recognized much in Western Europe or North America, primarily because the celebration began in the early part of the 20th century when world powers fought each other, and socialism and communism were in opposition to much of the West’s political and socio-economic philosophy. No matter the origins of IWD, women in the workplace should be celebrated.
According to the 2019 US Census, 57.4% of all women are in the workforce. Their participation in the workforce was a significant development in the latter half of the 20th century, peaking at 60% in 1999. Higher-level education participation of women has quadrupled since 1970, and earnings have grown from 62% of what men earned in 1979 to 82% in 2019.
Today, the effort continues to bring workplace compensation on par with men. Legislation, such as Washington state’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act, helps by prohibiting differences in pay based on gender and promoting fairness of compensation.
It is essential to review hiring practices, compensation, and benefits data to prevent gender bias and outright gender discrimination. Many organizations have yet to provide training to those responsible for interviewing, hiring, and performing basic management practices. If your organization could use some help or assistance in these or other management practice areas, FIT HR is here to help.