Five Facts to Know on International Women’s Day

Five Facts to Know on International Women’s Day

Not only is March Women’s History Month, but March 8th is International Women’s Day. While women have made progress at work, in education, and in leadership, women still face a frustratingly stagnant wage gap and, as recent news makes clear, still experience pervasive harassment at work.

In line with this year’s theme of #PressForProgress, IWPR has compiled five things to know this International Women’s Day:

  1. Women will have to wait another four decades—or much longer—for equal pay

If current trends continue, it will take 41 years—or until 2059—for women to finally reach pay parity with men. For women of color, the rate of progress is even slower. Hispanic women will have to wait until 2233—216 years from now—and Black women will wait until 2124 for equal pay. The last decade saw the slowest growth in women’s wages in nearly forty years.

  1. As the number of single mothers in college doubled over a decade, access to campus child care declined

The number of single mothers in college more than doubled in 12 school years between 1999 and 2012, to reach nearly 2.1 million students—or 11 percent of all undergraduates. Women of color in college are especially likely to be single parents: nearly two in five Black women (37 percent) and over one-quarter of American Indian/Alaska Native women (27 percent) are raising a child on their own while in college, more than twice the rate of White women (14 percent).

At the same time, access to child care on campus declined in most states and student parent enrollment in for-profit colleges grew by a staggering 138 percent, the most dramatic increase among all institution types. Student parents are more likely to have lower incomes and less likely to graduate than their non-parenting peers.

  1. The financial costs of domestic violence and sexual assault compound physical and psychological trauma

Intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, and stalking have profound economic effects on victims and survivors, outlined in an IWPR  fact sheet, which summarizes findings from research literature on the economic consequences and costs of violence against women. In addition to physical harm, survivors and victims often must contend with high medical expenses, lower wages from diminished educational attainment, lost wages from missed work and job loss, debt and poor credit, and costs associated with housing instability.

  1. Black Millennial women are still twice as likely to face unemployment as young White women

A decade after the Great Recession, a slow and uneven recovery has left young women of color behind. In 2016, Black women aged 25-34, experienced an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, which was higher than the peak rate experienced by White women of the same age in 2010 (7.7 percent). For younger women, the disparity is even wider.

“Youth unemployment is a critical issue because prolonged unemployment in the years following high school or college graduation means lost wages and lost opportunities to gain work experience, develop occupational skills, and cultivate a professional network,” IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., said about the analysis last year.

  1. Unions can bring a significant boost to women’s paychecks

Unionized women earn $219 more per week, or 30 percent more, than non-unionized women, according to a new analysis by IWPR. In addition, union membership may also help women secure health insurance: About 51 percent of women who are not in unions have employer-provided health insurance coverage, compared with about 77 percent of women in unions.


This year, women in industries as diverse as entertainment, media, politics, and professional sports, are saying #TimesUp or #MeToo. Even Economics, a field where only one in three doctoral degree recipients are women, is grappling with how to address misogyny in the field. (Learn more about the effort led by IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and UC-Berkeley’s Michael Reich.)

IWPR will continue to #PressforProgress by producing reliable research and analysis that advances the status of women. Join us by connecting with us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn) or signing up to receive our email newsletters.

One Community of Women and Men: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

By Amanda Lo

The Woodrow Wilson Center and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) brought together a panel of four male leaders to discuss the possible roles men can play in combating gender-based violence. The event, Male Leaders Speak: Critical Strategies for Combatting Gender-Based Violence, launched USAID’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, that began on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends on December 10, the International Human Rights Day.

Most of the conversation was focused on the situation of girls and women in Africa. Donald Steinberg from USAID shared his experiences serving as former U.S. Ambassador to Angola, and Major General Patrick Cammaert (retired) spoke about his time when he was former United Nations Force Commander for the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

One of the topics of discussion was on changing attitudes surrounding violence against women. IWPR’s research on the status of women in the Middle East has shown that sometimes attitudes of men and women do not match when it comes to violence. For example, in Yemen, 6 percent of women report that domestic violence is widely or somewhat tolerated within their families or tribe, while 13 percent of men state that violence is widely or somewhat tolerated. According to an IWPR survey in Lebanon, women with higher levels of education were less likely to accept domestic violence than those with lower levels of education. Among men, approximately one in ten found it acceptable for a husband to beat his wife—regardless of levels of education.

Jimmie Briggs, co-founder of the Man Up Campaign, argued that early education to challenge the typical “manhood” stereotype—that boys can feel they need to live up to—is one way to prevent the continuation of sexual violence from one generation to the next.

During the panel, Steinberg pointed out that women made up the majority of the audience. This has been typical for events I have attended on women’s issues. In fact, the most surprising aspect of this event may have been that the panelists speaking about violence against women were all men. Clearly, ending sexual violence will not be possible without the joint effort of men and women.

In order to also solve discrimination against women in the United States, the approach must take into account that women cannot achieve equity without male allies. The entire population, not just a half of the population, needs to want gender equality in economic, political, and social realms.

Find out more about upcoming events taking place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence on the website.

Amanda Lo is the Communications Intern at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit