Celebrating Women’s Economic Strides: A Look at the Last 50 Years

    How women have contributed to their financial and economic equality.
    Today is International Women’s Day, a global holiday created to celebrate the tremendous progress women have made in achieving financial and economic independence and equality by fighting for their right to increase their earnings, political representation, education and fields of occupation. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re sharing a few of the ways women have made economic and financial progress in the last 50 years.


    Women in the workforce: In 1970, only 43% of women were participating in the workforce, compared to nearly 61% today. This increase in workforce participation has allowed women to increase their earning potential and take control of their finances. Today, women make up 46.6% of the workforce and this percentage continues to rise despite women being the majority gender to exit the workforce due to the pandemic.

    Women owning businesses: The number of women-owned businesses has soared over the last 50 years. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), there were only 402,000 women-owned businesses in 1972, compared to over 12 million today.

    Women in management: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of women in management positions has increased from 26% in 1970 to 44% today.

    Women's earnings: The pay gap between men and women has narrowed in the past 50 years. According to the U.S Census, in 1973 full-time working women earned a median of 56.6 cents to every dollar men earned. In 2020 women earned 83 cents: a gain of 26.4 cents. Much of this gap has been explained by measurable factors such as educational attainment, occupational segregation and work experience. The narrowing of the gap can be attributed to gains women have made in each of these dimensions.

    Women investing: The number of women investing in the stock market has also seen an increase. According to a survey by Fidelity Investments, the number of women who invested in the stock market increased from 8% in 1970 to 32% in 2020. This increase in investment is a result of increased financial literacy and a growing awareness of the importance of investing in the long term.

    Women are saving for retirement: Women are also making great strides in saving for retirement. According to a study by the National Institute on Retirement Security, the average retirement savings of women has increased from $50,000 in 2013 to $62,000 in 2020. Women are taking advantage of workplace retirement plans and other savings vehicles to build their nest eggs and secure their financial future.


    Women have made tremendous progress in achieving financial independence and workplace equality in the past 50 years. While there is still lots of work to do, the continued fight for equality not only reduces the pay, investing and wealth gaps, but also increases financial power to align with the goals and actions required to build a sustainable future for everyone.

    As always, Credit Human is here to help guide you in your financial journey. For personalized guidance, visit your nearest Financial Health Centers.