It's been 20 years since the government set a goal to give 5% of federal contracts to women-owned small businesses. Not once has it met that goal. This story looks at why so few women still land federal contracts, what needs to change to alter that number, and why it matters.
Lynne Beaman (left) is the CEO of Highlands Environmental Solutions in North Carolina. She's been rejected once but rejection is a big part of the process. She's busy filling out more governement forms in the hope of landing a contract.
This post expands on a subject I've tackled before in a podcast and a public radio piece. Whenever I write about this, it resonates with women. A lot of us have experienced staying in one job too long, not necessarily because of the economy or another structural reason, but because something holds us back from quitting. We tell ourselves our officemates are 'like family', that we're needed here. We convince ourselves we're lucky to have the job we do, and that we may not be good enough for anything else.
This Marketplace story combined the reporting I did for two of my podcasts, the one that went out on June 15th, and the one that was released on June 30th. It turns out that the majority of transgender men have more positive experiences of the workplace once they stop living publicly as women and start living publicly as men. And these experiences hit them hard, because for decades they've seen the workplace through different eyes - female eyes. Suddenly, as men, they find they have more authority and are seen as being more capable, even though they're the same people with the same abilities they've always had. Take Thomas, who began his working life as Susan. One fellow lawyer described Susan as 'incompetent', but said he 'really liked this new guy, Thomas.' Meanwhile, trans women have the opposite issue: their abilities are suddenly questioned. They have to get used to being seen as less competent.
University of Chicago researcher Kristen Schilt says trans men's and women's dual experience of office life is about the best evidence we have that men and women really are perceived and treated differently in the workplace.
In this story I look at why the number of women on US company boards is still so low. From one perspective, American companies are on the right track - according to a recent Heidrick & Struggles study, more than 20% of board seats at Fortune 500 companies are now occupied by women. The latest Catalyst numbers indicate the number isn't quite that high.
Still, the vast majority of people who make household purchases are women, and some of those companies that make the stuff women buy have no women on their boards at all. Quotas aren't a popular idea in this country, and there's varying evidence about how useful they are overall. Powerful shareholder groups such as Calpers are now weighing in, trying to push companies to get more women and minorities into the boardroom - so far with limited success.