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9 Highlights From International Women’s Day

State Street’s Fearless Girl has come to be a symbol for International Women’s Day

For the week surrounding International Women’s Day, women’s issues get extra attention. At the first National Women’s Day in the United States in 1909, women were concerned about working conditions and the right to vote. Here’s what we’re talking about in 2019 on Women’s Day.

1. Marvel Comics finally has a female superhero.  It has been 14 years since Marvel Comics had a female superhero lead her own film (and the last one apparently didn’t go so well).  Deliberately timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, Captain Marvel will open this Friday and star actress Brie Larson.

2. For the first time ever, an all-female crew will conduct a spacewalk.  NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will carry out the spacewalk at the end of this month. Another woman, Kristen Facciol will be on the console at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston supporting their mission.

3. Only six countries in the world give women and men equal legal work rights.  The World Bank found that Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden were the only countries in the world to have a perfect score for gender equality in laws affecting work.  The good news is that this represents a big improvement over a decade ago when no country received a perfect score for equal legal rights.  The bad news is we still have a long way to go.

4. Momazonians demand backup daycare.  A group of working mothers at Amazon that calls itself the Momazonians is asking Amazon to provide backup childcare.  Giving workers access to emergency care when their child is sick or the school is closed would be a big boon for the working moms (especially since moms still take on the majority of childcare responsibilities).  If Amazon agrees, it would set a great precedent for other retailers to follow.

5. Women won a record-breaking 15 Oscars this year – In 2018, only six women won Oscars (and two of them, best actress and best-supporting actress must be awarded to women).

6. Has Tubman been dumped from $20 bill?  During the Obama administration, the Treasury Department made a decision to replace Andrew Jackson’s picture on the $20 bill with the face of Harriet Tubman.  Under the Trump administration, the fate of the Tubman $20 is less secure.  The Treasury Department is still not saying if it plans to release a new $20 bill with Tubman’s photo.  Why it’s important:  Having all male faces on our currency reinforces stereotypes that men make better leaders.

7. Bad news from the research community on gender stereotypes and gender equity.  The first study found that when people see more women at the top levels of leadership, they become less concerned about gender equity elsewhere.  This is a problem because more women at the top levels do not necessarily translate to more equity at the lower levels.  The second research study provided evidence that women lack confidence in their ability to compete in fields in which men are stereotypically believed to perform more strongly.  So women have less confidence in fields such as science, math, and technology.

8. Venture Capital has a gender problem.  Only 9% of partners in VC firms are women.  And with men controlling the purse strings for startups, who gets the VC dollars? One research study shows that 93 percent of venture money went to start-ups with all-male founding teams last year.

9. Women wearing purple.  Just in case you hadn’t heard, if you’re supporting International Women’s Day, you should be wearing purple.  On Election Day 2016 it was white, at the Emmy’s it was black, and now, for International Women’s Day, we’re supposed to wear purple.  What message does it send that there’s a fashion component to celebrating women?

Originally posted by Kim Elsesser

Kim Elsesser is the author of Sex and the Office: Women, Men and the Sex Partition that’s Dividing the Workplace.

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