Certain fields aren't known for their gender equality, but others have markedly improved over the past fifty years to become more inclusive than ever. According to new statistics released by The Graduate Management Admission Council, the number of women in business is increasing around the world, from Russia to Vietnam to the United States. Along with the percentage of women joining the professional ranks, the report also touches on the complex, culturally-based factors that can hold back female entrepreneurs, managers and business-owners.
In the U.S., some say it's the way women talk, the way they socialize, or the way they emote that doesn't mesh with male-dominated business culture. In other countries, some of the same issues come into play, as do religious restrictions and deeply entrenched patriarchal values that dictate how far women can rise in the business world. Perhaps the most surprising data from the report shows that just because a country is known for human rights abuses does not mean women don't have business opportunities, and conversely, just because a country ranks high on the gender equality index does not mean that women automatically succeed in business, either.
Here are six key facts about women in business from the GMAC's study, because these international statistics implicitly reveal a lot about the status of women around the world.
1. In The U.S., The Percentage Of Women In Government Is Similar To The Percentage Of Women In Senior Management Positions
The study found that 19.4 percent of the American government is comprised of women, and 21 percent of senior managers in business are women. In Great Britain, the numbers are also similar, with women coming in at 22.8 percent of the government, and 22 percent of senior managers.
2. Vietnam Has More Female Leaders In Business Than The U.S. Does
Compared with our measly 22 percent of female senior managers, Vietnam ups the ante with 33 percent. Although still considered by some to be a "developing nation," this southeast Asian country outshines the U.S. when it comes to women wielding power in business.
3. Japan Is Far Behind Its Economic Equals In Gender Equality
Japan is the third largest economic power in the world, but their workforce is in dire need of integration. Only eight percent of senior management in business is comprised of women, despite a 99 percent literacy rate and rigorous education system.
4. Women's Literacy Rate In India Is Far Below Men's
15 percent of senior managers might be female in India, but that number probably won't increase dramatically until girls are given the same educational opportunities that boys are. While men have an 81.3 percent literacy rate, women are at an appalling 60.6 percent.
5. Russia Has The Highest Rate Of Women In Senior Management
The land of Pussy Riot and Putin might make headlines for civil liberties abuses quite frequently, but their Communist past inspired more gender equality than the United States currently can muster. Forty percent of senior management roles are filled by women in Russia, which tops every single country that was included in the GMAC's study.
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