Nov 4, 2018

Why women leave the workforce

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Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The punchiest and most compelling excoriation of sexism in the workplace you're likely to read this week comes from Natalie Portman (yes, that Natalie Portman) on Medium.

Driving the news: Women constitute 50% of graduates from law school, business school and film school — but only a small minority of the most successful professionals in those industries.

  • Exceptions to the rule, in areas like gynecology and film-industry wardrobe departments, dispel the myth that women voluntarily drop out of demanding professions.
  • Women can make much less than 70 cents on the male dollar. Like, in some circumstances, just 1 cent. Basketball star Skylar Diggins-Smith has a rookie contract of $40,000, because she's a woman. An equally qualified man earns $4 million for doing the same job.

"The reason women in nearly every industry are not represented in powerful positions is because women are being discriminated against," writes Portman.

There’s a theory that’s often cited that women drop out of the workforce to focus on motherhood, or because the workplace isn’t conducive enough to rearing children. And I used to believe that too. But it always seemed suspicious as a reason — like a woman would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on law school, and all the time and hard work to graduate, and all the hours and stress to pass the bar, and then work for years at a law firm, and then give up her 6 or 7-figure job that she loves and has invested so much into, because she didn’t ever consider she might have to find childcare for her kid? A woman who can probably easily afford childcare? It was confusing, but I bought it, cause, well, I don’t know. I’m a sheep. Now, I would like to dispel that myth.
Natalie Portman, Why Women Leave

Go deeper

Women take the lead on donating to support female college sports

The Indiana Hoosiers celebrate after the NCAA Women's College Basketball game. Photo: Bobby Goddin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Former female athletes are donating millions of dollars to build facilities, endow scholarships and support coaching positions at their alma maters, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Participation in women’s college sports teams is at an all time high, outnumbering men's sports for more than 20 years. And yet, the marketing and sponsorships from benefactors for college female teams has caught on slower than men's sports.

Go deeperArrowDec 25, 2019

Women outpace men on U.S. payrolls

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Note: Men count was derived by subtracting women count from total; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

There are more women on American payrolls than men as of the latest U.S. jobs report.

Why it matters: The data reflects a hiring boom in industries that are female-dominated, while sectors that are more likely to employ men are lagging in job gains. The last time women overtook men in payrolls was “during a stretch between June 2009 and April 2010,” according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the milestone.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020

Female filmmakers' record-setting year

Writer-director Greta Gerwig (left) and Meryl Streep on set of "Little Women.” Photo: Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures via AP

Women directed 12 of 2019’s top 100-grossing films — the most ever recorded, AP reports.

Why it matters: The previous high in USC’s annual study was 8%, in 2008. In 2018, only 4.5% of the year’s top films were directed by women.

Go deeperArrowJan 2, 2020