Women in the Workplace

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While there is no doubt that women have come a long way from the discrimination and struggles they faced in the previous century when it came to getting an education, finding a job as well as security and equality in the workplace, the reality is that when you look at the hard facts, there is still a fair amount of inequality when it comes to women in the business world.

For instance, women earn less than men in 99 percent of all occupations. In virtually every field that women choose to enter, they can expect to earn less over their lifetime than their male counterparts. This means that over 47 years of full-time work, this gap amounts to an estimated loss in wages for women of $700,000 for high school graduates, $1.2 million for college grads and $2 million for professional school grads–a staggering amount.

But that hasn’t kept women from starting their own companies. Between 1997 and 2006, businesses fully women-owned or majority-owned by women, grew at nearly twice the rate of all U.S. firms (42.3 vs. 23.3 percent). During this same time period, employment among women-owned firms grew 0.4 percent, and annual sales grew 4.4 percent. True to the rest of the country our region has numerous women business owners. At Cascade Business News we celebrate numerous women business leaders who are innovative, hardworking entrepreneurs (read a few of those stories in this issue).  

And we also give you a brief review of how women, who comprise nearly half of the total U.S. labor force, are faring when it comes to getting paid, attaining promotions or entering certain fields.

Take a moment to read Theresa Freihoefer, professor of business at Central Oregon Community College, on how women and men manage their companies.  “When it comes to planning, organizing and putting in place controls, we know that men are able and I think it is fair to say that women have proven themselves capable as well,” remarks Freihoefer. You’ll want to read her summary on who makes the better manager, which may have more to do with your style than your sex as things are constantly changing in what was once a predominately male-driven business world.

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