May 2017 Women in Numbers

Facts and figures on females from throughout the world.

By Alessandra Rey, Illustrations by Jessica Wetterer

Bill SB-25     
That’s the name of Texas Republican Senator Brandon Creighton’s bill that eliminates a patient’s right to sue his or her physician should they withhold any information pertaining to signs of fetal abnormalities during a woman’s pregnancy. The primary incentive of the bill, which passed with a vote of 8-0 in the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs in February, is to dissuade female patients from obtaining an abortion. According to Democratic Senator José Rodríguez, members on the opposing side argue the bill limits a woman’s choice. As of press time, Bill SB-25 was under consideration in the Texas Senate. 

3 Days      
That’s the number of days women in Italy could have off work should a newly proposed “menstrual leave policy” get approved by the country’s parliament. If approved, the law will mandate companies to grant three days of paid leave each month to female employees experiencing painful periods. Italy already has extensive laws for females in the workforce, such as five months’ paid maternity leave and an extra six months of parental leave. Proponents of the policy, drafted by four female lawmakers from Italy’s ruling Democratic Party, argue the monthly time off could help combat employee absenteeism and Italy’s low number of females in the workforce. According to The Independent, only 61 percent of Italian women work, giving Italy one of the lowest female-workforce participation rates in the world. 

11 Years Old         
According to a survey conducted by Microsoft, 11 years old is the average age when many girls garner interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Unfortunately for many science and tech programs, girls tend to lose interest shortly thereafter, by the age of 15. Such a quick rebound, the survey notes, is attributed to a lack of female role models and current gender stereotypes, making it difficult for young women to choose a career in STEM. The study found that six of 10 women would feel more comfortable in pursuing a career in a STEM-related field should they be guaranteed equal pay and treatment when compared with their male counterparts. 

#5WomanArtists, the hashtag launched March 1 by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is being used to further arts education and raise awareness of gender inequality. The museum, located in Washington, D.C., has made a goal to kick-start conversations regarding gender disparity in the arts, as very few visitors to the museum have been able to name more than one or two prominent female artists beyond, say, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe. According to the museum, only 3 to 5 percent of permanent exhibition collections in the U.S. and Europe contain pieces created by a woman. The campaign is an effort to bring these iconic female artists and their work out of the shadows. This year, more than 150 institutions from 41 states in the U.S., 16 countries and five continents have agreed to contribute to the cause and participate via social media. 

Planet 50-50 By 2030  
Established by a cohort of women-centric organizations, Planet 50-50 By 2030 is an effort inspired and spearheaded by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Planet 50-50 By 2030 is an incentive spread throughout the U.N. and multiple media channels to expose women to their career potential and shift their focus from past ways of thinking to present, encouraging them to transition from traditional household duties to more professional careers. The campaign calls for governments worldwide to help transform media portrayals of women, as well as increase their representation in education, with a particular focus on achieving gender equality in the digital sphere. As of now, only 18 percent of women worldwide hold degrees in computer science. It’s estimated that further developing women’s equality in all job sectors could increase the global GDP by $12 trillion in the next eight years.