Stephanie Coontz recently wrote an article in The New York Times about the "Myth of the Male Decline," which argued that a variety of new "females today have all the power" books (with titles like The Richer Sex and The End of Men) are both misguided and misleading. Below are some of the arguments she makes regarding "the glass ceiling" and financial (i.e., professional) progress for women in America today:
- Women make up only 17 percent of Congress.
- Women make up almost 40 percent of full-time management workers, but the median wage of female managers is only 73 percent of what male managers earn.
- Only 4 percent of the CEOs in Fortune's top 1,000 companies are female.
- As of this June, men had regained 46.2 percent of the jobs they lost in the recession, but for women that number was 38.7 percent
- The percentage of female electrical engineers doubled in each decade during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. But since 1990, it has increased by only a single percentage point, meaning women comprised only 10 percent of the total.
- Gender segregation in any field means that as occupations gain a higher percentage of female workers the pay for these jobs goes down relative to wages in similarly skilled jobs dominated by males.
- Coontz argues that it's important to remember that earning more than a man with less education is not the same as earning as much as an equally educated man.
- Never-married childless 22 to 30 year old metropolitan area working women (with the same educational credentials as men earn less in every category according to a Boston University study.
- A 2010 Catalyst study found that female MBAs (on average) were paid $4,600 less than men in starting salaries, and continue to be outpaced by men in rank and salary growth throughout their careers even if they remain childless.
- The wife earns half or more of the family income in only 20 percent of all married-couple families.
- In 35 percent of marriages the wife earns less than 10 percent.
- Educationally, women today earn almost 60 percent of college degrees, up from about 30 percent in 1960.
- Among families in the top 25 percent of earnings distribution, women lead men by 13 percent in graduation rates, but among the lowest-income families women have only a 2 percent advantage.
- Between 1970 and 1985, women's share of computer and information science degrees rose from 14 percent to 37 percent. But by 2008, women had fallen back to only 18 percent.
- Women get a smaller payoff then men for earning a high school degree, but a bigger payoff for completing college.
- A Pew Research Center 2011 poll revealed that 77 percent of Americans now believe that a college education is necessary for a woman to get ahead in life today, but only 68 percent think this is true for men.
- Today, men account for only 2 percent of kindergarten and preschool teachers, 3 percent of dental assistants and 9 percent of registered nurses.