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A Look at Half the World’s Population

Here are our key facts on the ways women contribute to the global economy.

June 9, 2000

Here are our key facts on the ways women contribute to the global economy.

The United Nation just opened its “Women 2000” Conference to gauge the progress that has been made since the landmark Beijing conference in 1995. While women are making steady economic progress, a lot of work still remains to be done — in all parts of the world. Our Globalist Factsheet sheds light on some of the issues that still need to be addressed.

Are there restrictions on women’s mobility?

Since Spring 1999, Saudi Arabian women — if they are married and over 35 years old — are allowed to drive cars between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., provided they have the written permission of their husbands.
(Die Welt)

What support can women expect from the financial institutions?

As of 1994, about half of the projects that the World Bank finances include specific components aimed at empowering women.
(Washington Post)

Of the 32 women who have served as presidents or prime ministers during the 20th century, 24 were in power in the 1990s.

(Foreign Policy)

What about the traditional roles of women?

As of 1997, Ireland and Spain had the highest percentage of women who are housewives among all EU countries, with 60% and 49%, respectively. They are followed by 31% in Germany, 27% in Britain, and 25% in France. Denmark had the lowest with only 4%.

How equal are women to men in business?

As of 1995, only 0.1% of the board members of publicly listed Japanese companies were women. By contrast, more than half of U.S. Fortune 500 companies have at least one female board member.
(Washington Post)

What is the male-female ratio like in the working world?

As of 1995, 97% of all senior managers at Fortune 1,000 industrial corporations in the United States were white males. Only 5% of the top managers at Fortune 2,000 industrial and service companies are women — virtually all of them white. In contrast, two-thirds of the overall population and 57% of the work force is female or non-white.
(Washington Post)

Is the air getting thin for women up there?

When Carleton S. Fiorina was appointed CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 1999, she became the first female CEO of a Dow Jones company. It also made her one of only three women to head a Fortune 500 company.
(Washington Post)

How is the entrepreneurial spirit of women?

As of 1999, about 40% of all new U.S. firms are started by women. That is about the same proportion of the U.S. labor force that is female.
(Milken Review)

Do women equally share the burden of unemployment?

Of the 26 million jobs lost in Russia and other Eastern European countries since 1989, 14 million — or 54% — were jobs once held by women.
(Financial Times)

Where do they do most of the work?

In 1997, as many as 56% of Chinese women were part of the labor force — the highest figure of any country in the world. By comparison, 45% of U.S. women work.

Did women’s salaries finally adjust to that of their male colleagues?

Back in 1979, U.S. women earned just 62.5% of men’s salaries. By 2000, the percentage had increased to 76.5%.
(Washington Post)

Is it the same worldwide?

In 1996, Japanese women earned only about 60% of men’s salaries — the same level U.S. women earned in 1979.
(Financial Times)

As of 1997, only 3% of top executives at Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. were female — 51 women, compared with 1,677 men.
(Washington Post)

What is the position of women in the most manly of all industries?

As of 1999, only 14 women held rank as vice president or higher among U.S.-automakers — compared to 186 men.
(USA Today)

Are the French as gallant towards women as their reputation?

As of 2000, French women occupy just 10.9% of the seats in the lower house of parliament, a smaller share than any other European country except Greece.
(Inter-Parliamentary Union)

How do women fare in the world of diplomats?

As of 2000, women head only 11 of the 189 permanent delegations to the United Nations in New York.
(Foreign Policy)

Has nothing changed over the years?

From 1987 to 1995, the number of countries without any women government ministers fell from 93 to 47.
(Foreign Policy)

Who represents the most powerful nation on earth?

As of June 2000, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is one of only 14 foreign ministers worldwide.
(Washington Post)