The United States’ social structure hosts many oppressive failures, one of the most glaring examples of which being the gender wage gap. Though US women are educated at higher rates than their male counterparts, they still receive lower pay. In fact, one study shows that the only way for women to get ahead is by having a higher degree of education than their male competition. However, the rise of feminist movements in the past year, such as #MeToo, have been relentless in addressing these societal discrepancies, and the effort is starting to visibly pay off: This year, women are totally dominating as college commencement speakers.
Of the 25 most prestigious schools with the largest endowments, 60 percent have booked female commencement speakers for this year’s graduation.
Of the 25 most prestigious schools with the largest endowments, 60 percent have booked female commencement speakers for this year’s graduation, according to the Associated Press. And considering that over the past 19 years, that figure was just 25 percent, the hike in lady power is super notable. Hillary Clinton will speak at Yale University, Sheryl Sandberg at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Amal Clooney at Vanderbilt University, Mindy Kaling at Dartmouth College, Ava DuVernay at Cornell University—just to name a few.
“There’s been a much bigger push to bring in white females, black females—anyone other than a white male,” says Richard Schelp, owner of Executive Speakers Bureau, a company hired to find speakers. While institutions that AP contacted were hesitant to credit #MeToo with playing a direct role in their choice, schools did concede that the equality-seeking initiatives may have been an important factor for students who assisted in the speaker-selection process.
In a world where women hold only 4.6 percent of CEO positions at companies on Standard & Poor’s 500 list, and some states make it downright impossible for mothers to hold full-time jobs, it’s empowering to see boss babes publicly recognized for their incredible accomplishments. This is another step in the right direction toward defeating gender bias and teaching future generations that anyone can be a success story.
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