Points of Progress: Women shattered a glass ceiling on Wall Street, and more

Why We Wrote This

This is more than feel-good news – it's where the world is making concrete progress. A roundup of positive stories to inspire you.

Mark Lennihan/AP/File
The Fearless Girl statue was installed on March 7, 2017, on Lower Broadway in New York. As of this summer, there is at least one woman on every S&P 500 company’s board.

United States

This summer, women shattered a glass ceiling on Wall Street. When Copart, an online car-auction company, appointed Diane Morefield to the board, there were no longer any all-male boards among S&P 500 companies. Women occupy 27% of all S&P 500 board seats, a 10% increase since 2012. A law in California enacted in 2018 is contributing to this shift by requiring all publicly traded companies based in the state to have at least one woman on their boards by the end of this year; so far, 60% of companies are in compliance. (The Wall Street Journal)

Cuba

A cooperative in western Cuba is collecting plastic waste from the shoreline and turning it into plastic lumber. The lumber is then formed into outdoor products such as park benches and pergolas. Unlike other plastic lumber mills, this cooperative creates lumber entirely from plastic waste instead of virgin plastic material. The recycled plastic benches are replacing cement ones throughout the city as a more durable and sustainable alternative. (China Global Television Network)

Ethiopia

The country has a road map for how to eliminate child marriage and female genital mutilation by 2025. Nearly half of Ethiopian girls are married before 18, and FGM is a cultural norm that’s often considered necessary for marriage. The program aims to empower girls by encouraging them to stay in school and providing educational services for sexual and menstrual health. Stakeholders in the community are included to help shift attitudes. Ethiopia’s state minister for Women’s Affairs, Semenye Wub, said in an interview with the BBC that the goal to end FGM by 2025 is realistic. The practice has already been virtually eliminated in the southern region of Kembata. (UNICEF)

Netherlands

The world’s largest multistory bike parking structure opened in the central city of Utrecht on Aug. 19. The three-level garage is geared toward improving bike infrastructure and curbing carbon emissions. The Netherlands has more bikes than people, and space for parking bikes has become problematic. The country is investing millions of dollars in bike infrastructure near railway systems to accommodate increasing demands on public transportation while minimizing car congestion. Biking has long been a favored mode of transportation for famously flat Holland: The first bike lane in Utrecht was created in 1885. (The Guardian)

Michael Kooren/Reuters/File
Two cyclists park their bikes in the world’s largest bike parking garage in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Bangladesh

A landmark ruling gives Muslim women and men equal status on marriage certificates. Women are no longer required to indicate their virginal status, which was ruled a violation of privacy and fundamental rights. However, child marriage is still prevalent in Bangladesh, with 59% of girls marrying before they are 18. (CNN)

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