With the right qualifications, women can assume almost any role in business in the United States. Most Americans are prepared to judge women in business on their work history and actions rather than on their sex. The number of women in high-level management positions remains low considering the number of working women, but it does increase slightly every year. Women also work more and more in non-traditional fields such as architecture and construction.
Women in the U.S. can vote, own businesses, and own and inherit real property on the same basis as men. In 1963, the U.S.’s Fair Labor Standards act was amended with the Equal Pay Act, which specifically prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of sex.
In 1921, Pearl Young was the Only Female Physicist Working for the Federal Government
In spite of that, discrimination persists. Women in the U.S. earn only 77 percent of what men earn, largely due to lower numbers of women working at high-level jobs. Some pay disparities persist in similar-level jobs, and not all companies are meticulous about reviewing their salary structures for gender equity. Some businesses still run on the platform that men need to receive more pay in order to support families or because the pecking order is established by men.
WOMEN IN PROFESSIONS
First Six Female Astronauts (1980)
Traditional jobs for American women include teaching, nursing, and secretarial work, as well as less skilled jobs like waitressing, hair styling, or selling women’s clothes or cosmetics. Some jobs that were nontraditional 25 years ago are now common for women, including chemistry, law, medicine, and photography.
Since women make up about half the labor force, it’s unlikely that the number of women in business will increase substantially in the U.S., nor is the number or working women likely to decrease. The percentage of Fortune 500 companies with a minimum of one quarter of their corporate officer positions held by women doubled from 5 percent in 1995 to 10 percent in 2005, and the number of women in executive positions is likely to continue growing at a similar rate.
Most working women send their young children to privately run daycare centers. School-age children are typically enrolled in after-school programs. Some women hire nannies, au pairs, or other babysitters to look after their children. Others women rely on family members such as grandparents to care for their children, at least part-time. Larger companies may offer on-site day care facilities or subsidized childcare for their employees. There is no state-sponsored childcare in the U.S.A. The public schools are free, but those who work full-time use after-school care facilities for their children. Some public schools do have free after-school care, which may be funded by federal or state grants, or by nonprofit organizations.
WOMEN AS BUSINESS OWNERS
Conducting Ultrasound Examination
Women are majority owners of almost 30 percent of all businesses in the U.S. More than two thirds of these businesses are in the service sector. Significant numbers of women-owned businesses are retail stores and real estate companies. The biggest growth areas for women-owned businesses in the last ten years have been wholesale trade, health care, arts and entertainment, professional and technical services, and scientific services. In order to promote more women-owned businesses, the government sponsors special grant and loan programs for businesses started by women.