Heralding the triumph of women in the workforce last week, the Economist reported that women not only make up the majority of professional workers in many countries, but also that they earn nearly 60 percent of university degrees in America and Europe. Reinforcing the case for the Great Recession being a Great “Mancession,” the article cites an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent for women but 11.2 percent for men.
The cover, brandishing Rosie the Riveter and the headline: “We Did It!,” would suggest some kind of victorious finality. But the article admits several big concessions to the majority-female-workforce victory, most notably the pay gap. The average full-time female worker in Britain or the U.S. earns 80 percent as much as her male equivalent, though this gap shrinks if the woman is not a mother. Gender parity in the upper ranks looks equally bleak, with a tiny percentage of women in the boardrooms and C-Suites of Fortune 500 companies.