Jonesboro women speak on gender inequality

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 10:46 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Despite some advancement, the United States still ranks as the 19th best place to live and work for women.

That’s according to The Economist’s glass ceiling index, which “measures the role and influence of women in the workforce.” It takes into account the gender wage gap, parental leave, childcare costs, educational attainment, and representation in senior management.

Of the world’s 29 wealthiest countries, the U.S. rose just one place in the last year from 20th to 19th place.

Women in the United States earn 16.9% less than men, the report found.

Customer Success Specialist Kassie Williams of Continental Utility Solutions Inc. (CUSI) told Region 8 the nation’s gender wage gap was disheartening.

“We’re all made to be the woman that does it all, but here in the United States, it’s hard to do it all,” Williams said. “Women, I think, are afraid to ask for more. We’ve been told our whole lives, ‘You’re lucky to even be here.’ And I think that we feel like if we’re lucky to be here, how could I ask for more?”

Local freelancer Erin King shared her sentiments.

“With all of the resources we have, and with the work that’s still going on, to make progress in that, why are we still here?” King asked.

The glass ceiling index states that in 2022, women held 41% of managerial positions in the U.S.

Williams and King differ when it comes to men and women bosses.

“I feel really, really taken care of by her, I feel like she goes to bat for us a lot,” Williams said of her boss. “In some ways, I feel like she’s someone who challenges me to do more because we understand each other more.”

However, King feels as though some women discriminate against other women.

“Women in managerial positions need to confront any biases that they have and really be proactive in making sure women are equally represented, equally included, and that everything is accessible to all women,” said King.

This year’s glass ceiling index was released on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2023.

In light of International Women’s Month, Region 8 will continue speaking with women in Northeast Arkansas about the inequalities they face in the workforce.