The year 2022 was a turning point for women. Even though inequalities will always exist, 2022 was a year of empowerment for women worldwide. Women are gaining more control in the workplace than ever before, but they also take their voices to the streets when necessary. We have seen an increase in domestic violence, women in leadership roles, the reduction of our rights, and so much more. But primarily, we have seen women stand up to injustice and risk their lives to defend their future. So, even though we have suffered significant losses, the fight is not over, and women are ready for more.
In 2022, women accounted for approximately 9% of Fortune 500 CEOs, or 46. According to the Women’s Business Collaborative, this is an all-time high. Female political representation has grown as well. For example, with 35% representation, women are more present in the German government than ever. According to the IPU, women comprise 26% of all members of parliament worldwide. Rwanda is the most female-dominated country, with 61% of the population being female.
Women in leadership positions are increasing and demanding more from businesses. Female leaders switching jobs to seek greater flexibility, employee well-being, and equity have never been higher, implying that companies must raise their standards. As a result, women strive for the top and are unafraid to take on pivotal roles.
Although this is a significant improvement, the wage gap has narrowed by only one penny. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women working full-time earned 84 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2022, the most recent year for which data is available. In 2021, that figure will be 83 cents.
I want to emphasize that this varies depending on your country, race, education, and background. For instance, according to the National Women’s Law Center, full-time Latinas earn about 57 cents for every dollar that white, non-Hispanic men earn.
A matter of life or death
On June 24, 2022, millions of girls lost their autonomy over their bodies. The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision overturned and nullified the constitutional right to abortion.
Abortion is now prohibited in 11 states. Women are being turned away, even though they require urgent and, in some cases, life-saving medical care. This escalating public health crisis will only get worse. Because of the decision to criminalize abortion, hundreds of women will be forced to stay at home and it will be harder to further their education, not to mention the psychological strain of caring for a child at such a young age. This can aggravate their situation and prevent them from having access to a better future. The wealthy may still choose to travel to another state to receive this medical procedure, but their families must first agree to make it more complicated. This decision exacerbates not only gender inequalities but also social class inequalities.
This is a massive blow to women’s human rights and will make abortion even more dangerous. Many physical risks emerge as a result of a lack of access to safe, affordable, and timely abortion care, particularly as the rate of maternal deaths rises.
In contrast, few South American nations are considering making abortion legal. Colombia, for instance, which legalized abortion in February 2022. Subsequently, in Europe, Finland will allow abortions beginning on September 1st, 2023.
The fight for freedom
TIME named Iranian women the heroes of the year, which is more than well deserved.
Backstory: On September 16, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested at a metro station by morality police who enforced the dress code and died in their custody. This event started the most sustained uprising in the Islamic Republic’s 43-year history.
Iranians are reclaiming their bodies and independence through civil disobedience. Their rebellion includes marches supporting the movement, burning hijabs, and refusing to wear them. All these protests are cries for help against the repressive regime and for more freedom, normalcy, and opportunity. Hundreds of people have already been arrested due to the policy, which aims to restore order in the country. Even executions have begun, which have been widely condemned by the international community. However, the population has not been frightened by the government’s reaction and continues to fight the overly strict policies. Their perseverance highlights the Iranian people’s bravery and strength. We will see in 2023 if the movement will create sustainable changes for women in Iran.
We do not forget the Ukrainian women being instrumented in the war and raped by soldiers. Or Chinese women struggling to make their voices heard in a country where divorce is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. We do not forget all those other strong women worldwide who immeasurably deserve to be heard.
Overall, it can be said that if 2022 was anything, it was the year to be proud to be a woman. If the year 2023 will be anything, it will be female. We should expect a year in which more women enter the STEM fields, nations adopt clearer abortion policies, ideally, peace is restored, and gender parity thrives.
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