Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Gloria Steinem

Yesterday was Gloria Steinem's 75th birthday. A wonderful event and an appropriate time to consider the state of gender equality and gender roles in our society.

Domestic violence has been all over the headlines lately. The pay gap for women still exists. Indeed, it becomes evident the first year out of college which belies the usual "women more often choose to stay home" line. From that first year, it just widens.

Yet, the academic achievement of women continues to distance them from their male counterparts (high school and college graduation rates are higher for women) and this is having real effects in terms of representation in traditionally male dominated fields. The number of new doctors and lawyers, for example, is very near parity (although the number of female partners in firms is still significantly lower).

So, what are the greatest strides forward in terms of eliminating patriarchal barriers and what are the most important gender-based hurdles remaining?