“Women fight for empowerment will continue.”We have

 “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made… It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” —Ruth Bader Ginsburg2017 was a major year in the fight for women’s empowerment and equality.  From Hollywood to the White House, how women are perceived and treated at home and at work has begun to change.  Gone are the days of Weinstein’s casting couch and Lauer’s inappropriate workplace behaviors, but there is more work to be done.  Although improving in the past years, women still make up only 6.4% of CEOs of the 2017 Fortune 500 list, and women continue to average 80 cents to every dollar made by a man doing the same job.  http://fortune.com/2017/06/07/fortune-women-ceos/  Until women are hired in higher numbers to top positions of economic importance and the pay for the same work equalizes between the genders, the fight for empowerment will continue.”We have reached critical mass as a society,” said Dr. Alexandra Ranieri-Deniken, citing the sociodynamic theory that a certain percentage of people must adopt a new social system before a movement can sustain itself and continue to grow.  Studies have shown the critical mass percentage of a group needs to be 20-30% female before that tipping point is reached.  When Weinstein was ousted, the percentage of female producers was at 25%, as reported by Time magazine.  According to the Center for American Women and Politics, President Obama’s administration was 35% female at the maximum level of his second term and 30% at his first.  Trump’s percentage of women in high ranking positions is currently at 17.  That is a number that does not bode well for reforms that could help women and minorities reach a status of equilibrium any time soon.  http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/resources/womenapptdtoprescabinets.pdfMany prospering European countries have adopted requirements for the number of women on board of directors, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made history by requiring gender equality in his cabinet.  Trudeau had this idea in the works even before he ran for office – He spent years before the election selecting highly qualified women and encouraging them to run for office.  Without this pre-election legwork, he admits he wouldn’t have gotten the votes needed to achieve gender balance in his administration.  https://www.elitedaily.com/news/politics/justin-trudeau-talks-feminist-cabinet/1853014.In many of the poorer socioeconomic countries, women still face immense challenges to get even basic education, not to mention a driver’s license or have the right to choose their own spouse.  Gender based violence is still common and even accepted in many developing countries.  Worldwide, women make up 70% of the world’s work hour and earn a scant 10% of men doing the same work.  It’s no surprise that women make up over 70% of the worlds poor.  https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/mar/26/empower-women-end-poverty-developing-worldAs the #metoo movement and last year’s women’s protests around the inauguration of Donald Trump gave the gender battle a definite boost to the women’s corner.  So far this year, the Golden Globes promoted activism and gender equality throughout the awards program, and more protests are expected worldwide on January 20 this year. The momentum of last year’s successes needs to continue in order to create opportunities for additional reform.  Only through raising our voice will the demands of women for equality be heard, and the louder the voice, the clearer the message will be.Maria Dampman

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