By the numbers: Women in the U.S. workforce

Seventy percent of America’s 85 million mothers work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As women continue to speak out for equality in the workplace, employers that align compensation systems and their organizational cultures to support working mothers will attract top talent. Some telling statistics from recent studies:

  • Now more than ever, women are the primary breadwinners in their families. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, 42% of mothers are the sole or primary breadwinner, bringing in at least 50% of the household’s income.
  • According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll published in March, more working mothers at work is seen as positive by 78% of those surveyed, compared to just 62% in 2000.
  • Despite an increased presence in the workforce, 60% of women feel they are not treated as equals by their male counterparts, according to the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.
  • The disparity is further reflected in wages. While the average weekly wage for salaried women has risen 20% since 2008 (from $638 to $770 in 2017), it is still 80% of the average weekly wages for men, which rose 17% in that time (from $798 to $941).
  • There have been positive changes for women at work, especially in the arena of leadership. In the first quarter of 2018, women comprised 23.7% of all new CEO appointments, according to an analysis by Challenger, Gray and Christmas. Compare that to 19.7% of CEO replacements in the first quarter of 2017 and 18% in all of 2017.