It’s the end of the year, meaning every news program and magazine will produce a story wrapping up 2022 in a nice little bow, complete with photos and hashtags. Far be it for us not to hop on the “Look Back” bandwagon! So, here’s our version of a 2022 wrap-up looking through the lens of the issues important to women. This list is not comprehensive, so please let us know if we did not include something important to you.
January – Jobs Report Shows Women Lagging in Return to Work
In terms of jobs, the year started hopefully for men. Women, not so much. The January 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly jobs report showed that men had recovered all lost jobs since February 2020. Meanwhile, over one million fewer women were in the labor force. Experts said this difference was due to the ongoing disruptions to school and childcare and our culture’s tendency to leave caregiving responsibilities to women (ugh). Also, over one million men joined the labor force in January, compared to just 39,000 women. Not a great start to the year for working women.
February – Ketanji Brown Jackson Nominated to the Supreme Court
History was made in February when President Biden nominated Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson as the replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer. She was confirmed by the United States Senate in April, after some very contentious hearings, and sworn into office in June. Justice Jackson is the first Black woman and the third Black person to be nominated to the Supreme Court. The NAACP wholeheartedly endorses Judge Jackson. Their website notes, “Jackson has incredibly stellar credentials and extraordinary qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court.”
March – The Gap in Funding for Female-Founded Startups
Women-owned business startups raised $1.47 billion of venture funding in Q1 2022, down 34% from Q4 2021. This is a small example of a more significant evolving issue for women founders. In 2021, women founders received only 2% of all the venture capital in the United States, the lowest since 2016. Funding for minority female founders is even more inadequate. Black female startup owners received only 0.34% of the total venture capital spent in our country. This inadequacy in funding is hurting our economy. Women-owned businesses generate an average of $1.8 trillion per year. When women-led startups are funded, they’re more likely to be successful. They “ultimately deliver higher revenue — more than twice as much per dollar invested,” a Boston Consulting Group analysis found.
April – Senate Candidate Goes into Labor During Convention
In April, Minnesota Senate candidate Erin Maye Quade entered active labor during her nominating convention. A video of her experiencing contractions while giving her speech went viral. Her male opponent did not halt the convention, and she was forced to withdraw from the race. Later, she and her wife decided that quitting the campaign wasn’t what they wanted. Maye Quade said, “Do I want to have gone through this whole experience and said, ‘Well, it’s totally fine that I was treated this way?” It’s totally fine that the reason that I am not going to be on the ballot and run for office and put forward my vision for this community… [is] because I had a baby? That can’t be what stands.” SPOILER ALERT – Maye Quade won big in the November primary election!
May – Baby Formula Shortage
In May, a severe shortage of infant formula became apparent in the United States. The shortage resulted from the recent global supply chain crisis made worse by a massive product recall after two infants died after being given Abbott infant formula. On May 14, nationwide out-of-stock rates were reported to be 43%; by May 22, they had increased to 70%. Parents were forced to take drastic measures to feed their children, including appealing to social media followers and paying premium prices to scammers. The shortages will continue into 2023.
June – Reversal of Roe v. Wade
On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. As a result, women no longer have a federal right to an abortion. Instead, the states will decide if abortion is legal. This decision was made on the heels of several states passing laws banning abortions. One of the worst was Texas Senate Bill 8, also called The Heartbeat Act, which banned abortions when fetal cardiac activity is detected, usually at about six weeks. Despite multiple court challenges and protests from activists, the law went into effect in September 2021. It became a blueprint for states to outlaw abortion once Roe v. Wade was overturned. Most abortions are now banned in at least 13 states. However, there are also state activists (we see you, Kentucky!) working to protect abortion rights at the state level.
We always knew that most women have extraordinary courage. The January 6 hearings were a recent example. During the hearing, Representative Liz Cheney praised and thanked the women who testified and compared their patriotism to the “50, 60 and 70-year men who hide behind executive privilege.” Cheney also said the witnesses were an “inspiration to American women and American girls.” These women included: Sarah Matthews, the former deputy White House press secretary; Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to the White House chief of staff; Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards; and Georgia election workers Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman. Thank you, ladies, for stepping up for our country.
August – A Win for Equal Pay
The U.S. women’s national soccer team finally won their long and arduous fight to receive equal pay from the U.S. Soccer Federation. The settlement included $22 million in back pay and $2 million for the athletes to pursue post-soccer career goals and charitable efforts involving women’s and girls’ soccer. The settlement also included a collective bargaining agreement that guaranteed identical pay and bonuses to the U.S. men’s national team and contained a provision that would pool both teams’ prize money to be distributed equally. This historic agreement is the real victory of the settlement because it will protect the female athletes of the future.
Also in August – Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin Dancing
Viral video strikes again! Finland’s 36-year-old prime minister Sanna Marin was caught dancing and singing at a party with friends. Marin’s political opponents took the opportunity to criticize her behavior as unbecoming of a prime minister. Marin told reporters that there was alcohol at the party, but she did not see any drugs. She also said she would be willing to take a sobriety test. She apologized and said, “I am going to be exactly the same person as I have been until now, and I hope that it will be accepted.” Women worldwide showed their support by posting videos on social media of themselves dancing. She was cleared of misconduct allegations later in the year.
September – The Women of Iran
Time Magazine chose the women of Iran as the 2022 Heroes of the Year. For the last few years, young women have been leading a movement in Iran to have access to things we take for granted, like college, travel, jobs, the freedom of speech, and the freedom to wear whatever they want. This movement was galvanized in September when 22-year-old Mahsa (Jina) Amini was arrested at a metro station for not wearing a hijab properly. She died in their custody on September 16, triggering an uprising where the average age of arrested protesters was 15. Protests have also spread internationally to the U.S., Greece, Lebanon, Germany, and Turkey. As we end the year, the demonstrations continue even as the Iranian government violently suppresses them. More than 350 people have been killed since September.
Also in September – Grownups Winning Emmys
Emmy night was a good night for the grownup women on television. Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jennifer Coolidge, Geena Davis, and Jean Smart were all honored for their acting chops, and for good reason. Sheryl Lee Ralph, 65, won for her work on Abbot Elementary and belted out, “I am an endangered species, but I sing no victim’s song. I am a woman, I am an artist, and I know where my voice belongs!” Jennifer Coolidge, 61, won for The White Lotus. She was so tickled that she danced to the “wrap-it-up” music during her acceptance speech. Geena Davis, 66, won the 2022 Emmy Governors Award, recognizing her groundbreaking work in gender balance and inclusion in the television industry. Lastly, Jean Smart, 71, won for Hacks and looked timeless in a gorgeous white dress. She kept it real in her acceptance speech by saying, “One more thing, I promised – I lost a bet – Hermine, thank you for the Botox.” Congratulations to all four ladies!
October – Inflation on the Rise
According to a report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices rose 8.2% this year, which is almost the highest they’ve ever been in more than thirty years. We are paying $445 more per month to buy the same goods and services we did in 2021. Our grocery bills will increase even more by the end of the year, around 11%. Certain food items will be hit hard, such as eggs (+35%), cereal and baked goods (+13.5%), and edible oils +(20%). Strap in; it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
November – Epic Midterm Elections
Midterm elections are not always nail-biters, but this year definitely was. Overall, they ended well for women. We can now say that all 50 states have elected a woman to represent them in D.C. Vermont was the last state ever to elect a woman at the federal level, Democrat Representative Becca Balint. Also, the first female governors were elected in Arkansas, New York, and Massachusetts. Women were also elected as governors in Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, and South Dakota.
Also, November – A Jobs Report Update
In November, the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data showed that women gained 162,000 jobs during the month. That means women have finally made up the ground lost during the pandemic. Women now hold 409,000 more jobs than in February 2020. However, they still have not caught up to men, who hold 635,000 more. Also, 240,000 women left the labor force in November.
December – State of Motherhood
Motherly’s annual State of Motherhood survey focuses on a diverse group of Millennial and Generation Z mothers. This year, moms reported feeling burnout (38%), financial stress (33%), and unsupported (40%). Also unsurprisingly, the most often cited reason that women changed or left jobs this year…lack of childcare. The study showed that almost half of the working moms are primary breadwinners yet still manage most of the household chores, an increase of 10% since 2018. There has also been a dramatic increase in mothers interested in legislation and policy that improves the lives of families.
Also, in December – Women in the Workplace study
Let’s finish our retrospective of 2022 with the Women in the Workplace report. This annual study is a collective summary of the state of women at work sponsored by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company. This year’s report focuses on how the pandemic has changed what women expect from their employers, including the growing importance of work/life balance, flexibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion. We won’t go into the findings here (another blog, perhaps!), but this study is essential reading for every business leader interested in enhancing their employer brand in the new year.
As we say goodbye to 2022, let’s remember our triumphs and vow to overcome the barriers still blocking our path to success. Lady Bird Talent stands with every woman raising her voice and demanding equity and inclusion at work and home. We need your voice to do our part. Together, we can do anything. Sign up for our newsletter and join us today!