Letter from the CEO – September 2015


Dear AWEE Stakeholder,

The serendipitous timing of Labor Day so close to the recent anniversary of women’s right to vote paints a contrasting picture of 95 years of dramatic advancements and ongoing challenges.

Statistically, women now comprise a majority, 50.8%, of the U.S. population. According to the Center for American Progress (CAP), we earn about 60% of undergraduate and graduate degrees – including 47% of all law degrees and 48% in medicine – and account for 49% of the college-educated workforce.

Today, women hold almost 52% of all professional-level jobs and since 1980, more women than men have voted in every presidential race.

And yet, as Judith Warner, Emily Baxter and Milia Fisher so accurately point out on the CAP website, despite “gains in educational achievement and professional advancement, narrowing the gender gap in pay and making real inroads into many professions that traditionally had been closed to them” during the latter decades of the 20th century, the women of Generation X, Millennials and Baby Boomers “face similarly sobering reality.”

They site that:

• Women’s progress in attaining leadership roles both in government and the private sector has essentially stalled. The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University shows only 6 women Governors (out of 50), 104 women in Congress (out of 535) and 256 women mayors (out of 1,393).

• Women still earn, on average, only 78 cents for every $1 men earn—a gap that is even more dramatic between women of color and white men.

• Occupational segregation still persists, with women disproportionately represented in traditionally female fields such as education and health services—and not in leadership positions.

Today, women hold almost 52% of all professional-level jobs and since 1980, more women than men have voted in every presidential race.

And then there’s this:

• In the U.S., there are more male CEOs named “John” than women CEOs overall (only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women).

• Women are more likely to be living in poverty (24 million+ in 2009), and

• Domestic violence is the most common cause of injury for women between 18 and 44.

How do we overcome these challenges? Certainly one answer is more investment in education and job training to create paths to success and more opportunities for women.

At AWEE, we’re doing just that. We recently launched two new collaborations: AWEEc, our women’s business center, and BankWork$ an initiative to prepare workers from low-income and minority communities for careers in the financial industry. And, we continue working to eliminate barriers to employment for all of our participants.

Our focus remains steady: developing career pathways, building self-confidence and addressing straight up the challenges women face in the workforce to generate important outcomes for the entire community.

Thank You.

Marie A. Sullivan
President & CEO

Letter from the CEO – September 2015