March 8 is International Women’s Day. Every year we focus on all the work that needs to be done to attain women’s equality – and that’s still a long road. But sometimes let’s reflect on some of the important gains we have made since the 1960s.
In 1961 32% of women aged 22-44 had a job. Today, that number is more than 82%.
In 1969 only 33% of the workforce was female. Today, that number is over 48% – nearly half the workforce.
In 1976 women earned 41 cents compared to every dollar a man earned. While today, that number is only 68.5 cents, it still reflects a 60% increase.
Attitudes have shifted and the opinion that a women’s place is in the home has dropped dramatically since the 1960s.
Federal and provincial governments throughout the 1970s and 80s passed numerous laws forbidding workplace discrimination against women.
The number of women enrolled in college or university has increased as well. In the 1960s only 10% of women earned a college or university degree. Today, the majority of students in post-secondary education are women.
Attitudes towards violence against women has evolved considerably. In the past, spousal abuse was sometimes considered a “domestic” issue – an internal affair that didn’t warrant police attention. Before the 1980s there was no law forbidding a man from sexually assaulting his wife. Today, romantic partners can be charged and convicted for spousal abuse.
While the quest for equality has advanced this cause significantly, the battle has not yet been won, but I believe it will be within my lifetime.