Occupy the Patriarchy: We Are the 51 Percent!

by Intern Courtney

While reading the Huffington Post this morning, an article titled “Is Occupy Good for Women?” grabbed my attention. The movement that started in New York City in September gathered strength across the country and coined the slogan “We are the 99 percent.” The article’s author, Christine Bork, reveals where women fall in the richest 1% of Americans (those that control 40% of U.S. wealth).

Bork found that the top 1% is made up of fields dominated by white males, such as medical fields, financial professions, and law.  She looked at leadership roles in business and the problem became clear. At the end of 2011, women held only 3% of the leadership positions at Fortune 500 companies, and women who hold managerial positions still tend to make less then men in comparable positions.

As a woman, if I want to be a part of the top 1%, I’ll have to be willing to earn 81 cents for every dollar my male counterpart earns, and possibly sacrifice getting married or have kids for the privilege. A Georgetown University study confirmed my fears, stating that women today need a college degree to earn the same wage as a man with a high school diploma. As a recent college graduate, unemployment and debt aren’t foreign to me, but I wasn’t aware that the unemployment rate for college graduates between the ages of 20 and 24 had reached an all-time high, at 9.1 percent. The average college graduate is $25,250 in debt and unable to get a job.

Bork is sending an important reminder that women’s positions in the U.S. business world haven’t improved nearly enough. The Occupy movement isn’t helping to close the gap that women have faced for decades. Maybe we should take Bork’s advice to “take to the streets” with the rallying cry, “We are the 51 percent!”

Text Source: huffingtonpost.com

Image Source: aclumich.com

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