The recently released Status of Women in North Carolina report shows both the progress North Carolina women have made and the challenges we still face.
The report, produced by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the North Carolina Council for Women, looks at how Tar Heel women fare in the areas of political participation; health and well-being; employment, education and earnings; and, economic security and poverty.
All this week, Women AdvaNCe will provide in-depth coverage of the report. Today, we start by looking broadly at the report’s findings – both the good news and the bad.
Political participation. Women vote at higher rates than men, and women currently hold five of the nine NC Council of State positions, a body composed of the governor and nine other officials elected statewide. But we are woefully underrepresented in the state legislature – this year, women hold only 38 of the 170 seats in the NC General Assembly.
Health and well-being. More than one-fifth of women in North Carolina aged 18 to 64 don’t have health insurance. However, women in North Carolina are more likely than women nationally to have had a mammogram or a pap test. Rates of breast-cancer deaths, infant mortality, and teen pregnancy have declined in recent decades, but African-American women have significantly higher rates of all three.
Employment, education and earnings. North Carolina women aged 25 and older have higher levels of education than men in the same age range, but we still are paid less than men at every education level. While the gender wage gap has narrowed over the past two decades, women still earn only 83% of what men earn.
Economic security and poverty. Women in North Carolina are more likely than men to live in poverty, and the percentage of women in poverty is higher in North Carolina than in the nation as a whole. Families headed by single women with children have the lowest median annual income ($20,393) of all family types. As the report states, “The persistent wage gap, the high cost of child care, and limited access to public programs that can help families in difficult economic times mean that many households in North Carolina, particularly those headed by single women with children, face serious economic uncertainty.”
Tomorrow, we’ll have more on what the report uncovered about the economic status of women in North Carolina.