March is National Women's History month—anointed so in order to empower today's women by teaching them about women's progress in the past. The website of the National Women's History Project features the following quote from gender equality pioneer Myra Sadker:
"Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less."
Learning about women who challenged the status quo encourages us to do the same. If we never learned about the strife of suffragettes, would we appreciate our right to vote?
Women's progress is a dynamic thing, and is often marked by two steps forward, one step back. From education to reproductive rights, check out our Women's Rights report card below to see how the fairer sex is faring today.
EDUCATION & INCOME
✓ Progress: Women and men are graduating from college now at essentially the same rates. Women outnumber men in terms of college enrollment. In 2012, they're expected to earn 63% of master's degrees and 54% of doctoral and professional degrees. Women are also increasingly moving into traditionally male-dominated fields, like science and engineering. Married Men Getting Richer, Thanks To Women
✓ Setback: The gender wage gap persists. For the same job performed, men make—on average—$6 an hour more than women.
CAREER & LEADERSHIP
✓ Progress: About 70% of women work outside the home, and women are more likely to hold leadership positions on the job. In 2009, 40% of managers in the workforce were women. At the start of 2012, there were 18 female CEOs running Fortune 500 companies, a record number.
✓ Setback: We've still got a long way to go. In 2011, there were only 98 female CEOs at 3,049 publicly traded companies. Though the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 allows for up to 12 weeks of maternity and paternity leave, it's up to states and employers whether or not this leave is paid. Many new parents can't afford to take that much time off.