India had Indira Gandhi. Israel had Golda Meir. The United Kingdom has Theresa May. And Germany has Angela Merkel. Yet in the U.S., no woman has ever held the highest elected office in the land: president. Not only that, but just one woman has even been selected to represent her party on the final ballot — Hillary Clinton in 2016. Despite winning 2.9 million more popular votes in the 2016 presidential election, Clinton still lost the electoral votes to Donald Trump, keeping that elusive glass ceiling still intact.
It's so tough to break, in fact, that very few women have ever tried to run for president since the country was born (a total of just 10 between 1872 and 2016), though more have tried in the last few decades, including Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina, Carol Mosley Braun, Elizabeth Dole and Michelle Bachman, who all ran in the 21st century [source: Center for American Women and Politics].
Most Americans (73 percent) actually believe there will be a female president during their lifetime, according to a 2015 Pew Research poll. It might be a good thing for the nation. Research shows that when women are at the helm of countries that are ethnically diverse, there's a 6.8 percent increase in GDP (gross domestic product) compared to when men are in power. The reason, researchers say, is that female leaders are more inclusive of others and cooperative.
Nevertheless, a separate 2015 Pew Research survey found that nearly 40 percent of Americans believed the reason there hadn't been a female president yet is because women are held to higher standards than men and that voters simply aren't ready to elect a female leader [sources: Kent, Hill].
Author's Note: 10 Fields Where the Glass Ceiling Isn't Even Cracked
I'll never forget the day I took my younger daughter into the pediatrician. It was the mid-1990s, and she was about 5. The doctor asked if she thought she might want to be a doctor one day, and she replied, "You mean a nurse. Boys become doctors and girls become nurses." Thankfully, he immediately corrected her and said girls could become doctors, too. But it was certainly an eye-opener for me. At that point in time, there were plenty of female doctors in the U.S., and there was much chatter about the fact that girls could do whatever boys could, and vice versa. Where in the world did my daughter get the notion that only guys could become doctors?
Apparently it didn't matter that gender equality was much talked about. In practice, the vast majority of doctors — including ours — were male. Ditto with mechanics, dentists, garbage collectors and a whole host of other professions. I hope by the time I have granddaughters, they won't have any concept of gender being linked to jobs.
More Great Links
- Barrett, Rick. "Attracting women to manufacturing still a challenge." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Oct. 27, 2012. (April 13, 2016) http://www.jsonline.com/business/attracting-women-to-manufacturing-still-a-challenge-kl7bnek-176098291.html
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "51-4111 Tool and Die Makers." March 30, 2016. (April 13, 2016) http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes514111.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Firefighter Factsheet July 2013." July 19, 2013. (April 6, 2016) http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/osar0017.htm
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey." Feb. 10, 2016. (April 9, 2016) http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm
- Carsenat, Elian and Elena Rossini. "Airline Pilots." Gender Gap Grader. (April 12, 2016) http://gendergapgrader.com/studies/airline-pilots/
- Catalyst. "Women CEO of The S&P 500." Feb. 3, 2016. (April 8, 2016) http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-ceos-sp-500
- Catalyst. "Women in Male-Dominated Industries and Occupations." Oct. 20, 2015. (April 13, 2016) http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-male-dominated-industries-and-occupations
- Catalyst. "Women in the Automotive Industry." July 10, 2014. (April 14, 2016 ) http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-automotive-industry
- Egan, Matt. "Still missing: Female business leaders." CNN. March 24, 2015. (April 6, 2016) http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/24/investing/female-ceo-pipeline-leadership/
- Elmer, Vickie. "Report: Women still face barriers in construction trade." The Washington Post. June 11, 2014. (April 6, 2016) https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/06/11/report-women-still-face-barriers-in-construction-trades/
- Forbes. "The World's Most Powerful People." (April 8, 2016) http://www.forbes.com/profile/mary-barra/
- Goyer, Mireille. "Five decades of female pilots statistics in the United States. How did we do?" Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. (April 6, 2016) http://www.womenofaviationweek.org/five-decades-of-women-pilots-in-the-united-states-how-did-we-do/
- Hill, Steven. "Why Does the US Still Have So Few Women in Office?" The Nation. March 7, 2014. (April 6, 2016) http://www.thenation.com/article/why-does-us-still-have-so-few-women-office/
- Hollenback III, David. "Women In The Fire Service: A Diverse Culture Leads To A Successful Culture." Fire Engineering. April 25, 2014. (April 6, 2016) http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-167/issue-4/features/women-in-the-fire-service-a-diverse-culture-leads-to-a-successful-culture.html
- Hoppe, Robert. "U.S. Farm Structure: Declining — But Persistent — Small Commercial Farms." United States Department of Agriculture. Sept. 1, 2010. (April 13, 2016) http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2010-september/us-farm-structure-declining%E2%80%94but-persistent%E2%80%94small-commercial-farms.aspx#.Vw69-tQrKUl
- Kauffman, Gretel. "Why aren't there more female mechanics? (+video)." The Christian Science Monitor. June 9, 2015. (April 14, 2016) http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-automotive-industry
- Kent, Lauren. "Number of women leaders around the world has grown, but they're still a small group." Pew Research Center. July 30, 2015. (April 14, 2016) http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/30/about-one-in-ten-of-todays-world-leaders-are-women/
- Lockheed Martin. "Marillyn A. Hewson." March 8, 2016. (April 8, 2016) http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/who-we-are/leadership/hewson.html
- Maksel, Rebecca. "Why Are There So Few Female Pilots?" Air & Space. Feb. 6, 2015. (April 6, 2016) http://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/why-are-there-so-few-female-pilots-180954115/?no-ist
- McCullough, J.J. "Female World Leaders Currently In Power." J.J. McCullough. (April 14, 2016) http://www.jjmccullough.com/charts_rest_female-leaders.php
- National Women's Law Center. "Women in Construction: Still Breaking Ground." June 11, 2014. (April 12, 2016) http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/final_nwlc_womeninconstruction_report.pdf
- O'Connor, Mary. "Orthopedic Surgery: Women on the Rise in a Male-Dominated Field." The Huffington Post. Oct. 3, 2012. (April 6, 2016) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mary-i-oconnor/orthopedic-surgery-women_b_1726145.html
- Robbins, Gary. "Why so few women in engineering?" The San Diego Union-Tribune. Sept. 12, 2013. (April 9, 2016) http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2013/sep/12/women-engineering/
- Rosenberg, Nathan. "The Endangered Female Farmer." Natural Resources Defense Council. Feb. 1, 2016. (April 6, 2016) https://www.nrdc.org/experts/nathan-rosenberg/endangered-female-farmer
- Ruelas, Heydi. "Women in the Bug World." Pest Control and Bug Exterminator Blog. Feb. 19, 2014. (April 14, 2016) http://blogpestcontrol.com/2014/02/women-in-the-bug-world/
- Sorrentino, Johanna. "STEM Jobs with the Most Men vs. the Most Women." World Wide Learn. Dec. 18, 2015. (April 6, 2016) http://www.worldwidelearn.com/education-articles/stem-jobs-with-the-most-men-vs-the-most-women.html
- The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte. "Overwhelming Support: U.S. public opinions on the manufacturing industry." August 2014. (April 13, 2016) http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/~/media/DD8C9A2E99B34E89B2438453755E60E8/2015_Public_Perception_of_Manufacturing.pdf
- United States Department of Agriculture. "Women Farmers." September 2014. (April 13, 2016) http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Highlights/Women_Farmers/Highlights_Women_Farmers.pdf
- United States Department of Labor. "Nontraditional Occupations." (April 14, 2016) http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/Nontraditional%20Occupations.pdf
- United States Department of Labor. "Women in the Construction Workplace: Providing Equitable Safety and Health Protection." June 1999. (April 13, 2016) https://www.osha.gov/doc/accsh/haswicformal.html
- Woodyard, Chris. "Serious shortage of skilled auto mechanics looming." USA Today. Aug. 30, 2012. (April 14, 2016) http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/autos/story/2012-08-28/shortage-of-auto-mechanics-looms/57414464/1
- Yahoo! News. "NYC female firefighters trying to boost numbers." Jan. 30, 2014. (April 6, 2016) https://www.yahoo.com/news/nyc-female-firefighters-trying-boost-numbers-070538257.html
The Peabody ducks are famous worldwide. Meet the Duckmaster who keeps them all in line with HowStuffWorks.
Last editorial update on Aug 6, 2018 04:51:34 pm.