Throughout history, women had a very different role in the workforce than they do now. The legislation, social change, and empowered women entering the workforce have changed not only the types of work women do, but made influential progress that has evolved the workplace for the better.
From raising salaries to almost match that of men to entering fields that were previously male-dominated, women are changing the game and opening doors for future generations. Our daughters will have more opportunities than we ever thought possible as women continue on this path towards workplace equality.
Here are some of the ways women have changed — and still are changing — the workplace.
Bringing More Education to the Workforce
Historically and stereotypically, women didn’t attend college regularly like men. Instead, they focused on creating a stable and comfortable home life for their families. With no college or trade education, job opportunities were slim.
When the cultural shift allowed for women to focus on, and prioritize, getting educations, they had more opportunities and ultimately, more independence. Today, millennial women are more likely to pursue higher education than men, with 38% of women having a four-year college degree and only 31% of men having the same degree. Not only that, women are far more likely to pursue an advanced degree.
Because of this shift in advanced education, it isn’t unrealistic to think that the more traditional roles of child-rearing could fall to the men in the future.
This focus on education, along with other societal changes, has also helped women close the wage gap. Women are now making 83% of what men earn for the same job. This isn’t a perfect number, but it is improving — thanks to women in the workforce.
Entering Male-Dominated Fields
By striving to obtain more education, women have a better chance of finding jobs, getting better opportunities and entering fields that we’re previously male-dominated.
For example, of positions held in 2013, 14% of engineers, 45% of mathematicians and 47% of life scientists were women, and those numbers are continuing to grow. STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — fields were traditionally full of men, but women are slowly but surely making a name for themselves in these fields.
More women are also making the move towards entrepreneurship. Women now have the resources and drive to find a business niche, create a start-up and work to make it successful. With social media, crowdfunding and women inspiring one another, female entrepreneurs have the tools and motivation they need to make it big.
This trend is changing the workplace as well because as entrepreneurs, women don’t have to stick to a 9-5 schedule, which is perfect for their busy lives. Even the busiest of moms can have her own business on sites such as Etsy, where she can sell products she creates in her spare time.
Working as Moms
Following along with the entrepreneurial trend, many women are abandoning the traditional stay-at-home mom role that has defined women for centuries. With flexible jobs, like ones mentioned above, women can work while they are at home caring for their children.
Also, stay-at-home moms are gradually being replaced by stay-at-home dads. In 2012, two million dads were staying at home, almost doubling the 1.1 million who were staying home in 1989. Women are free to work and be the sole breadwinners for the family while the father stays at home in the traditionally female-occupied role.
Women are changing the workplace all the time just by being themselves. Driven, empowered and inspirational females are the types of women who will continue to make strides in the workforce for all women. No longer are the days when men are the workers and women are the homemakers. We can only imagine what women will do in the future.
Hi, I’m Kate Harveston. I’m originally from Williamsport, PA. After pursuing my degree in Professional Writing, it seemed only natural to get out there and start blogging! I am currently pursuing a career as a journalist and freelance writer, covering everything from human rights and gender equality, to US government and international politics. My life goal is to be one of the best female political writers online, while having some fun along the way (because politics can be fun!).