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A History of Women in the Workplace

March 27, 2014

The workplace is ever-changing with new technology, workflow solutions, corporate responsibility, and sustainability initiatives. Employee dynamics have changed, as well, to include work-life balance, diversity, and gender-equality initiatives. In honor of the 106th International Women’s Day on March 8th, Pacific Office Automation looks back at some of the most important advances of women in the workplace in the last 75 years:

• The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, nationality, and gender
• By 1968, it was illegal to segregate help wanted ads in newspapers by gender
• The government passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978 to protect pregnant women from discrimination in the workplace
• Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981
• In 1983, Sally Ride was the first woman to travel to space
• Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first woman to run for president in 2008
• There were 72 million women in the workplace in 2013, up 30 million from 1984
• Women’s earnings have risen to 81.2 percent of what men earn today, up from 62 percent in 1979
• Women comprise 46.9 percent of the labor force, and 14 percent of executive positions for Fortune 500 companies
• 40 percent of business owners in the U.S. are women
• Since 1997, sales generated from women-owned businesses have increased 40 percent
• Today almost half of working women earn at least half of their family’s income

Though wage inequality still exists, and women run a fraction of the country’s largest companies, there are signs of progress. For instance, more women are majoring in computer science than ever, an important step to getting more women into the technology industry. Speaking of the tech sector, some of the country’s largest tech companies, like Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo, are run by female CEOs. In another male-dominated industry, General Motors recently named its first female chief executive.

The Federal Reserve appointed the first woman as its chairman this year. Another indication that women are earning more: There was a 60 percent increase of the number of women on the 2014 Forbes Billionaire List compared with two years ago, and the most women in the 28 years Forbes has been compiling the list.

At Pacific Office Automation, we celebrate all improvements in the workplace. Contact us today to find out how we can help your workers be more productive.

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