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.

International Women’s Day and Queen Elizabeth I

March is Women’s history month and March 8th is International Women’s Day. As a woman and a history major, I would like to take a moment to reflect on this month and its meaning, as well as the women who have aided me in getting where I am today both directly and indirectly.
I enjoy the commentary on round table discussions on National Public Radio where commentators routinely question the need and use of celebratory months for things such as Black History and Women’s History. There’s much to be said about naming a particular month in honor of a group that was or is at a disadvantage in society. As if women and Blacks could be assuaged with a month to celebrate their personal existence. But the history geek in me gets excited to see March bring in spring plus awareness of women’s history– a topic that was unheard of let alone studied until recently.
I remember the day I gained awareness of the importance of women’s history. Sophomore year my high school history teacher taught us only one woman in the whole span of world history: Cleopatra. Not to be outdone by a nice but traditional former football coach who was set in his ways, I offered and was allowed to give a lecture on my most favorite woman in history, Queen Elizabeth I. Her 41 years of solitary reign in England, during which time she took the country from inescapable poverty to the most powerful and wealthy country in Europe has inspired my ambitions since I first came across her in sixth grade.
The woman beat the Spanish Armada with a smaller, more impoverished fleet in 1588 and she also managed to organize the Anglican Church and prevent the British from hosting its own holy war between Catholics and Protestants. Queen Elizabeth I was one of those rare breeds of women- centuries before her time, fortunate enough to be born into a high enough class to allow for the cultivation of her mind without question. It probably also helped that her father could only manage to produce one male heir who died at age 15 of Tuberculosis- a great deal of energy had to be put into his daughters if they were to be worthy successors.
Elizabeth rose to the challenge and, as I like to think, outshined all expectations anyone might have held. It’s interesting to note that she was able to successfully run a country during the 1500s without ever marrying. I’m not trying to say that marriage is bad, but it definitely makes you think about viewing it as a necessity for security in this age if women at that time could do it and still succeed. Granted her economic situation placed her in an elite class that most women in the present could never achieve. However, women in our time also have the benefit of the feminist movement which shifted social perspectives enough that single women in their mid-twenties and older are no longer called spinsters and viewed as social pariahs.
I love trying to imagine what Elizabeth must have thought and dealt with on a daily basis. Mostly I love pretending that some of her fortitude and aptitude will rub off on me the more I study her life. I encourage all women my age and younger to look to the past as historians pull more women from the lost accounts of history. Surely there are inspirations for all of us. Hopefully those women who accomplished great feats without things like Title IX or equal opportunity legislation will help force us to see that while we still have a large mountain to climb, our sisters and ancestors have been there and can always lend a helping hand.
– Elisabeth Crum