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On gender equality in the United States: So much accomplished; so much more to do

“I like being a woman, even in a man’s world. After all, men can’t wear dresses, but we can wear the pants” – this quote by Whitney Houston posted, reposted and “liked” so many times in the recent past once again confirms that little has changed since the time the first female activists demanded equal rights. Without a doubt, women have made tremendous advances in the past decades: we vote, attend schools and universities, hold the same jobs as men do, live independently. The feminist movement has quieted down now that it seems like there is not anything women can’t do. The truth is, however, despite the equality we seem to have reached, the opportunities for women are still very limited.

According to the recent report released by Catalyst, women currently hold 3.8 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 4.0 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions. Another study published by Catalyst in August 2012 presents the percentage of women on boards worldwide – Japan occupies the very bottom with nearly 1 percent of female executives, while Norway is at the top having 40 percent of its top ranks held by women. The United States is three countries away from “exemplary” Norway at only 16 percent.

As Ann Bartel, the chair of the economics subdivision at Columbia Business School, points out, this data conceals the fact that in the New York region, where the majority of financial conglomerates are located, “there are no women in the ...