businesspeople with rope against diagram backgroundFor decades, women have made strides toward achieving equality in the workforce. A recent Gallup poll revealed that women haven’t just caught up to their male counterparts, they’ve actually passed them in terms of engagement and job performance. The study revealed that 33 percent of women feel actively engaged at work, compared to 28 percent of men. Whether it’s because women are “leaning in” or doing what they’ve always done, this tendency to engage leads to more productivity, better work relationships and more positive attitudes.

Despite this and other studies that tout women in the workplace, women still don’t get paid as much as men and have a harder time gaining upper-level positions. Why the discrepancy?

Women & Leadership

From Marissa Mayer to Arianna Huffington, women have proven to be more than capable of leading businesses and managing employees. That’s why the numbers that expose discrimination in leadership positions are so disheartening. The Harvard Business Review blog reported that just 6 percent of women were mentioned as a potential partner at a Wall Street firm, versus 14 percent of men, despite the fact that women received more positive comments on formal evaluations. For additional context, consider that of all the Fortune 500 CEOs, just 21 are women. That’s not even 5 percent.

PR Daily notes that women may be more qualified than men to take on leadership positions in the public relations industry, which is already dominated by women (except in upper-level management). Another Harvard Business Review blog revealed that women raise the collective intelligence of a group. Perhaps it’s advanced listening skills or social aptitude, but women tend to get the most out of the people around them. What more could you ask for from a leader?

Women & Equal Pay

It’s 2013 and women are still fighting for equal pay. reported that women make just 77 cents to every dollar earned by men. Some argue that businesses are obligated to pay women the same as their male counterparts because women are more likely to have kids and leave the profession, but that argument doesn’t account for entry-level employees who don’t have the intention to have kids anytime soon or experienced professionals who don’t have kids or whose kids are fully grown. The only rational reason to pay someone less is based on performance. Every professional study reveals that women perform as well or better than men. The gender wage gap is a reality, and women will have to keep outperforming their salaries to overcome it.

Women & Hiring

Women are graduating from college at a higher rate than men, so naturally more women will be in the workforce. Women earned 56.9 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in 2012, according to Since December 2009, however, the economy has added 5.3 million jobs, yet only 30 percent of them went to women, notes NYtimes. Women can use recruiting and resume sites, such as, to get a leg up in their career, but they are still running into obstacles. It’s an uphill battle, but women continue to prove they take baby steps in the fight for professional equality.

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