Some sentiments hit like clockwork. The classic December “wow-this-year-flew-by-fast” is one of them. In 12 short months, the world witnessed a rush of gender equity events that kept me, a gender economist, on my toes. So, before we jump into another whirlwind of a year, let’s pause to review five major news stories that rattled the gender equity beat in 2022.
We increased our time to educational gender equityby 83 percent in the past two years, which means that we are on track to achieve gender equity in educational attainment by 2044. Considering that a country’s GDP per capita increases by 10 percent for each additional year of education, this setback will ricochet throughout the entire economy.
On a brighter note, the Biden-Harris Administration announced an ambitious student loan debt forgiveness plan, which would cancel up to $10,000 in debt for people with salaries under $125,000 and up to $20,000 for people who received Pell Grants. This plan matters for gender equity because women hold 67 percent of all student loan debt in the United States, yet they make up 58 percent of graduates.
The 2022 midterms set another milestone for women in politics. Twelve women will serve as governors in 2023, the most number of women ever to concurrently serve in this position. Meanwhile in D.C., a record 149 women will serve in the 118th Congress. For reference, the previous record of women in Congress was 147 after the 2020 midterms.
Gender equity in politics matters because women are 10 percent more effective legislators and deliver 9 percent more money in federal programs to home districts compared to men politicians. Unfortunately, however, perpetrators of violence target women in public office 3.4 times more often than men in public office.