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by Phil Stott | February 26, 2015


The issues of equal rights and pay for women in the workplace have been making headlines in recent weeks, along with the related issue of parental leave and benefits.

In the next few days, I'm going to be focusing on those issues in a series of posts examining Vault's Consulting Survey data from a gendered perspective, as well as taking a look at the life of a female employee who has struggled with the demands of the industry that has been at the center of much of the diversity debate of late: technology.

In the meantime, though, I wanted to share this chart, which I came across in an excellent piece on the conditions working women face across the world, by Slate's Jordan Weissman. It shows the percentage of working women in a handful of developed nations over the past three decades. I was surprised to learn that, while some of the world's most developed nations have seen a steady increase of women into the workforce, the rate in the U.S. has remained almost stagnant since 1990, and seems to have been on the downswing in recent years, even as the economy has roared back to life.


Female Labor Force Participation


Reasons for that situation are not difficult to seek out: President Obama's recent State of the Union address touched on affordable child care as a barrier to equality in the workplace, while lack of parental leave benefits at U.S. firms often mean that parents who wish to spend time with young children have to leave the workforce altogether.

As mentioned above, this is an issue that I'll be looking at in more depth using Vault's own data in the coming days. Until then, though, feel free to have your own say on it in the comments below.

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Slate: If the U.S. is Hell for Working Women, France Might Just Be Heaven