Women in Numbers: February 2017

Facts and figures on females from throughout the world.

By Darcy Sprague, Illustrations by Jessica Wetterer


That’s the year in which Nicole Zivkovic and Miki Nakano founded the Girls of New York movement, a social-media-based campaign. For more than two years, the Humans of New York-like initiative has shared the diverse faces, backgrounds and inspirational stories of girls from throughout New York. It’s all in an effort to spark conversation about equality issues and the stereotypes young girls and women are up against. One recent post, shared through the campaign’s @gonymovement Instagram account, told the story of a young Indian woman who has felt out of place her entire life because of her dark skin. Another featured a young woman who experienced sexism from her much older co-workers during the course of a summer internship. 

1st Latina Cast Member     

Last October, Melissa Villaseñor became the first-ever Latina to be hired as a cast member and join the comedic crew at Saturday Night Live. Villaseñor first tasted fame when she made it to the semifinals of America’s Got Talent in 2011. Since then, she has voiced characters on TV shows Family Guy and Adventure Time. Known for her spot-on impressions and killer impersonation of actor Owen Wilson, Villaseñor brings a refreshing dose of humor and a dash of diversity to the 42-seasons-strong late-night show. 


11 Startups    

Today, there are more than 1.5 million businesses run by African-American women in the U.S., more than 100,000 of which are tech-based companies. That’s a whopping 322 percent increase in the number of businesses led by African-American females since 1997. However, there are only 11 startups founded by African-American women that have raised more than $1 million in venture-capital funding, according to a report by #ProjectDiane. Of all venture-capital deals from 2012 to 2014, only 24 of the 10,238 deals favored African-American female entrepreneurs. According to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, low VC funding is an issue prominent in women-led startups as a whole. Of the more than 200 startups in the Bay Area of California that received series A funding in 2015—investments totaling between $3 million and $15 million—a mere 8 percent were led by women.

25 Years Old 

Jasmine Twitty, a 25-year-old African-American woman, is the youngest person to ever be sworn in as a judge in the United States. Twitty, who holds a degree in political science, had been working as a night clerk for four and a half years after college when she realized she had the skills and qualifications to make the leap to judgeship. Twitty told the online publication Mental Floss that she always knew she wanted to work in public service and says the day she was appointed and sworn in “felt surreal.” Now that she spends the majority of her days overseeing the initial proceedings in criminal cases in Easley, S.C., Twitty says the hardest part of her job is “the effort it takes not to bring it home.” 

50,000 African-American Women 

Many people know heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women worldwide, but not everyone realizes the condition disproportionately affects African-American and Hispanic women. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 50,000 African-American women die from the disease annually, and it’s estimated that nearly 49 percent of African-American women have some form of cardiovascular disease. On average, Hispanic women develop heart disease—symptoms of which include extreme fatigue, dizziness and an irregular heartbeat—10 years earlier than Caucasian women. The most common type of heart disease, coronary heart disease, kills nearly 380,000 people annually.