The workforce has changed significantly since I was a child. Most married women were stay-at-home moms. Many women who worked outside of the home didn’t always hold full-time positions.  Now dual-working families are common in almost every household, with some parents holding multiple jobs.

For the first time since the Great Recession, women now hold more U.S. payroll jobs than men. While this statistic does not include farmworkers or the self-employed, which jobs are largely held by men, women are still gaining an edge in the workforce.

According to recent reports from the U.S. Labor Department, 145,000 jobs were added in December 2019. More than 90 percent of those new jobs were filled by women.  In addition, experts say that women are being hired at a faster rate than men. The fields of health care and education are booming, and it is no surprise that women make up 77 percent of employees in these areas. Typically, male-dominated fields like manufacturing are also declining. What does this mean? The trend of women outnumbering men on the payroll might stick for a while.

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You might ask why this is significant news. Changes in the demographics of the workforce ultimately lead to positive changes for the workforce. When more women entered the workforce, childcare and family leave became a priority for employers. Family leave, childcare and flexibility in the workplace are very important issues for working women and men.

In addition, the wage gap between men and women has been slowly closing, but women are still paid significantly lower salaries than men. There is also a significant leadership gap between women and men.  More women need to hold leadership positions in the board room and in many career fields. Equity is not only important for women, it is vitally important to the business world.

Companies who have diversified leadership simply do better. Gender diversity in the workplace leads to increased productivity, higher employee retention and satisfaction, and greater innovation.

It’s not just a gender movement or a desire to level the playing field. Diversity, equity, and inclusion lead to greater success for working families and for the companies they serve. It’s an all-around win-win.