Women in the Olympics and the workplace

February 21, 2014

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, saw the debut of women's ski jumping. This continues a decades-long process of introducing new women's sports at the Winter Olympics (bobsledding in 2002, ice hockey in 1998, speed skating in 1960, and alpine skiing in 1936). At the first Winter Olympics, in 1924, about 4 percent of the athletes were women. During the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, around 20 percent of Winter Olympics athletes were women. In recent years, winter sports fans have seen this figure skate past 40 percent.

 

 

Percentage of women workers, by industry, 1964-2013
YearConstructionMining and loggingManufact-
uring
InformationTrade, transpor-
tation, and utilities
Professional and business servicesTotal privateLeisure and hospitalityOther servicesGovern-
ment
Financial activitiesEducation and health services

1964

6.57.725.245.130.223.230.533.019.638.846.672.0

1965

6.37.825.444.830.624.130.834.020.939.546.671.6

1966

6.38.026.244.731.026.031.534.923.240.647.172.5

1967

6.58.226.644.931.427.432.335.725.341.347.772.9

1968

6.58.326.845.031.729.032.936.627.442.148.173.7

1969

6.58.527.245.132.330.333.537.529.242.348.873.9

1970

6.88.927.245.532.731.034.038.030.242.849.474.4

1971

7.09.127.145.932.631.734.438.431.442.849.775.4

1972

7.39.227.645.632.432.534.638.732.443.349.475.6

1973

7.59.428.245.332.933.335.139.433.343.950.375.3

1974

8.29.428.245.633.734.736.040.635.044.351.676.0

1975

9.09.927.746.434.235.536.841.136.544.052.476.9

1976

9.510.128.646.534.736.637.641.837.844.853.077.1

1977

9.610.229.046.435.037.938.142.539.346.653.877.3

1978

9.610.829.546.435.639.138.643.340.747.055.077.1

1979

9.711.129.946.636.340.139.244.341.947.955.777.0

1980

10.311.430.347.436.941.040.244.943.049.056.777.2

1981

10.811.930.647.937.341.940.945.444.149.657.477.5

1982

11.412.431.048.738.142.641.945.945.049.457.878.3

1983

11.612.831.549.338.843.242.646.445.749.457.978.4

1984

11.512.731.748.739.443.942.947.446.550.458.378.0

1985

11.713.331.548.940.244.543.448.147.351.159.177.5

1986

12.114.631.849.240.945.344.248.748.251.760.077.5

1987

12.314.532.049.241.446.044.849.348.952.360.577.2

1988

12.314.732.149.341.946.745.249.749.752.660.576.9

1989

12.414.932.249.242.147.145.550.050.353.160.976.4

1990

12.514.632.249.341.347.145.852.050.853.561.376.7

1991

13.115.432.249.341.546.946.451.951.453.861.576.8

1992

13.015.832.249.041.547.046.751.751.454.161.576.9

1993

12.715.832.148.941.447.046.751.351.454.461.376.9

1994

12.515.531.948.741.446.746.651.451.254.661.176.7

1995

12.615.331.748.541.446.646.551.351.055.161.076.6

1996

12.615.131.448.741.446.646.551.250.755.460.976.6

1997

12.615.131.448.041.446.846.551.250.555.960.876.6

1998

12.515.531.247.041.346.446.451.350.656.160.576.5

1999

12.516.131.146.841.446.246.451.450.556.460.276.6

2000

12.515.431.046.741.446.146.451.350.656.660.376.7

2001

12.214.930.646.441.446.146.751.750.956.960.677.0

2002

12.314.630.045.841.045.847.051.951.557.360.677.1

2003

12.214.029.644.840.845.347.051.951.557.260.677.2

2004

12.113.529.343.840.644.946.952.251.357.160.277.2

2005

12.112.629.143.540.644.746.952.351.456.860.177.3

2006

12.312.028.743.040.444.346.852.751.755.660.477.3

2007

12.412.828.842.440.744.647.152.551.956.659.877.5

2008

12.813.228.742.241.044.847.552.552.257.359.177.5

2009

13.314.128.641.741.145.148.452.552.657.259.377.5

2010

13.113.928.340.840.644.648.452.352.957.058.977.2

2011

12.913.327.640.540.344.348.152.252.757.158.376.9

2012

12.813.327.340.240.344.248.052.252.557.058.176.8

2013

12.813.527.139.940.544.548.052.152.557.157.676.8

The proportion of women in the U.S. workforce has also increased since the 1960s. In 1964, 30.5 percent of private sector workers were women; in government (federal, state, and local, including public schools), 38.8 percent of workers were women. In recent years, the proportion of women in the private sector has been 48.0 percent or higher and in government, at least 57.0 percent of workers were women.

Education and health services has continuously had a proportion of women workers that is higher than any other industry over the entire 1964–2013 period. During the last five decades, the proportion of women workers in education and health services has always been above 71.0 percent. The financial activities industry has consistently had the next highest proportion of women workers. In financial activities, the percentage of workers that are women was 46.6 percent in 1964 and rose to over 60.0 percent in the early 1990s, though it has declined somewhat since then. 

The other services industry (which includes repair and maintenance, personal and laundry services, and religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations) saw the largest increase in the percentage of women workers over this period, from 19.6 percent in 1964 to over 52.0 percent recently. In construction, the percentage of women workers increased from 6.5 percent to over 12.0 percent. The percentage of women workers in professional and business services (which includes which includes legal, accounting, architectural, and engineering services as well as management and administrative support services) was 23.2 percent in 1964 and over 44.0 percent in recent years, however the proportion was at and above 47.0 percent circa 1990.

Over the past five decades, the share of women workers has increased in every major industry except one: the proportion of women workers in information was 45.1 percent in 1964 and was over 49.0 percent for several years during the 1980s and early 1990s. Since then it has slowly declined and dipped below 40.0 percent in 2013.

These employment data are from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program. Additional data for these and other industries can be obtained from the CES Databases accessible from the CES homepage. Industry definitions and other BLS data can be found on the Industry at a Glance pages. Winter Olympics data are from the "Women in the Olympic Movement: Update October 2013" factsheet from the International Olympic Committee.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Women in the Olympics and the workplace on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140221.htm (visited December 19, 2014).

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