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Nonfiction in response to Gender Equality
May 2018
By Amrita Bhasin
CC Image Courtesy of the DFID

In this day and age, you’d think that there would be equal representation for women in most occupations. Unfortunately, studies are finding that female representation in certain occupations is dropping. More and more girls should be encouraged to consider all careers, regardless of whatever biases and stereotypes surround them. While the reasons for an absence of women in these fields are complicated, room for improvement is important. Check out the list below. For reference, women make up 48 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to the Census Bureau


1. Science and Engineering

According to US News, women have little representation in “science and engineering occupations. They comprise 39 percent of chemists and material scientists, 28 percent of environmental scientists and geoscientists, 16 percent of chemical engineers and just 12 percent of civil engineers.” The American Society of Mechanical Engineers states that “in the U.S., about 18 percent to 20 percent of engineering students are now women, according to the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at the University of Virginia, where 31 percent of undergraduate engineering students are female.” While these numbers are rising, there is a dire need for more women in these fields. 


2. Computer Science

Only 24 percent of STEM workers are women, and in computer science occupations, there is a large gender gap. Unfortunately, studies are finding that it is only getting worse, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. 26 percent of computing professionals are female, and Women earn only 18 percent of all undergraduate computer degrees, even though women earn 57 percent of all undergraduate degrees. This is surprising considering that computer science is such a high-paying, respected and dominant field, especially in today’s society. 


3. Film

The Study Of Women and Television and Film has found that “of the top 100 grossing films in 2016, women represent 4 percent of directors, 11 percent of writers, 3 percent of cinematographers, 19 percent of producers, and 14 percent of editors. In addition, merely one woman has won the Academy Award for Best Director, and 4 have been nominated. Moreover “a female cinematographer has never been nominated for an Oscar.” This is so disappointing in my opinion, especially because the world just saw how well Wonder Woman did with a female director. According to San Diego State’s Center for the Study of Women in Film, the number of female directors is declining and a study reports that women directors in film are no better off than they were in 1998. 


4. Acting

In addition to there being a small number of female directors, "Research from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism shows that for every one woman who speaks even in films with less than an R rating, there are around three male speaking characters and that crowd shots have an average of 17 percent women (a ratio that hasn’t changed since 1946).” The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film also discovered that "females comprised 29 percent of protagonists" in 2016, and "Females accounted for 37 percent of major characters.” The statistics are even worse for women of color because "76 percent of all female characters were white in the top 100 films of 2016, 14 percent were black, 6 percent were Asian, and 3 percent were Latina.” This is surprising because a study found that films with diverse casts had the highest median ratings. With television and film playing such a large part in the media today, it is critical that there is more representation for women of all ethnicities. 


5. Sports

Women make up only 34.8 percent of college athletes. There is unfortunately a large pay gap between the two genders, and Newsweek reports that the “USWNT (U.S. Women’s National Team) earns $99,000 per year… By contrast, each men’s player would earn $263,320 for the same feat.” There are barely any female sports coaches or administrative officials. While the number of women in the Olympics is nearing 50 percent, a noteworthy accomplishment, there is still room for more female representation in sports fields. 


6. Politics

In America, women make up 19 percent of political representatives. The Center for American Women and Politics found that women make up 19.6 percent of congress seats, 21 percent of Senate seats and 20 percent of mayors in the top 100 largest American cities. The numbers are even lower for women of color: Of the 75 women serving in statewide elective executive offices, 7, or 9.3 percent, are women of color, and women of color constitute 5.9 percent of the total 7,383 state legislators. 59 countries have currently seen a female world leader, but most of the world (including the U.S.) has yet to. 50.8 percent of the U.S. is female, but our political landscape fails to represent this, and so does most of the world. 


7. Law Enforcement

According, only 13 percent of law enforcement officials are women, an astonishingly small number. It is also believed that these numbers are lower in rural areas, a significant part of the U.S. Time Magazine believes that more women in the workforce would decrease the amount of excessive force and number of unnecessary shootings. Our law enforcement officers are supposed to represent our community, so why aren’t there more women? 


8. Culinary

You may not know this, but it’s very difficult and rare for women all over the world to reach the level of executive chef. Fox News reports that “though half of all restaurant owners and nearly half the students at acclaimed U.S. cooking schools are female, a recent Bloomberg survey found women hold just 10 out of 160 head chef positions at 15 of the nation’s top restaurant groups.” If you look at any culinary television shows, you will probably not see any female celebrity chefs. In an occupation that has been prevalent for so long, it’s surprising that there is still such a large gender gap. 


9. Banking

Another very lucrative job, the banking industry also needs more women. reports that “Less than 10 percent of all U.S. fund managers are women; women exclusively run about 2 percent of the industry’s assets and open-end funds. By contrast, men exclusively run about 74 percent of the industry’s assets and 78 percent of funds.” In addition, “women make up only 17 percent to 23 percent of all employees.” Wall Street and finance have a dominant role in America and while the numbers are rising, there is still a long way to go. 


10. Military

Like other jobs, the number of women in the military in no way represents the American population. According to CNN, “14.5 percent of the active-duty force is women”, and “enlisted women made up 2.7 percent of the military's front-line units.” Women constitute “about 17 percent of supply units, 14 percent of communications staff and 10% of electronics technicians.” These statistics are slowly following an upward trend, but more women should not feel held back from serving in the military.

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