Monday, July 26, 2021

Women Empowerment: Are We Really Empowered?

 Gender equality is being practiced nowadays or at least being enforced in developed and developing countries which I believe is an awesome progress in our society. But based on data, it seems we have a long way to go before women can catch up when it comes to education, opportunities, or even salaries. Let’s take a look at some of the “inequalities” among men and women. 

Men are Less Likely to Attend College Than Women 

Many years ago, 58% of college students in the U.S. were men. But by 2017, 57% of the country’s bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women. In today's digital landscape, women even dominate the online education space, particularly for higher education. In a Business Women Media report, it's said that online learning is ideal for women – a demographic usually tasked with home and family care – since the format removes barriers to education such as location and time limitations. I also see this as an opportunity for women especially moms who could not leave the house often because of household responsibilities. It’s their chance to educate themselves more or even sell their skills to potential clients online at the comfort of their own home.

Men Earn More than Women 

Unfortunately, regardless what degree or qualifications a woman has, it’s still not enough for women to achieve equity in the workforce; there’s still a considerable pay gap. A man with a bachelor’s degree still out-earns an equally credentialed woman by approximately $26,000 annually. For instance, women in finance only earn $0.76 for every dollar a man does. Even in jobs that employ more women than men, women are still paid less. For instance, diagnostic technicians make up two-thirds of the workforce, yet they earn $19,000 less than men every year.

Women are less financially empowered because of the pay gap. This is one of the reasons why it’s more difficult for women to pay off student loans. But women with the right credentials and capabilities should be able to negotiate. I guess one solution to prevent student loans is apply for scholarships instead. Students can look for scholarships in websites like Nancy Etz for an easy search.  

Insufficient Support from Family

Financial education or education itself truly begins at home. But the problem is that parents talk about money differently to their sons and daughters in most cases. In an article from Fast Company website, it highlights how 61% of boys are taught about credit scores as children, compared to only 46% of girls. The article also points out how this discrepancy stretches beyond lessons; girls receive less money from their parents than boys do from elementary to high school.

While it may not be true for all households, a survey shows that most parents save more money and are willing to spend more on their sons’ college education than on their daughters’ which I personally have seen in provinces. Indeed, there are biases that are inherent in families – and you may not even notice them – which could impact lifelong earnings and financial health. Girls, then, tend to take out more student loans and financial aid to cover their educational costs. More parental support and awareness about financial literacy for girls can help remedy this.

So as our society progresses, so should women’s standing in it. It’s only through unbiased terms and equal opportunities that women can be more financially free. Hopefully, it can start within families and treat their children equally regardless of gender. Now that's the beginning of true empowerment. 

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