Report Shows Progress for Women in North Carolina, Alongside Increased Poverty

Mar 11, 2013, 11:43 ET from Institute for Women's Policy Research

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report prepared by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) shows women climbing up education and career ladders, while increasing numbers fall into poverty. The Status of Women in North Carolina was funded by the North Carolina Council for Women, Wells Fargo, and several women's funds.

Over the last two decades, the female workforce in North Carolina became more diverse, more educated, and more likely to work in professional and managerial occupations. Despite having generally higher levels of education then men, women face lower earnings. With women earning 82.5 cents for every dollar earned by a man, however, North Carolina has a smaller wage gap than the nation as a whole.

"Women in North Carolina, historically and according to the most recent data, have strengthened the state's economy and local communities in many ways," said Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., IWPR Study Director and co-author of the report.

According to the report, between 1990 and 2010:

  • The share of women with at least a bachelor's degree increased from 16 percent in 1990 to 27 percent in 2010.
  • The share of women employed in managerial and professional occupations increased from 26 percent to 40 percent (between 1994 and 2010).
  • The proportion of women in poverty increased from 14 to 17 percent.
  • The share of the female population comprised of immigrants grew from two percent to seven percent.

The recession significantly affected women and men in North Carolina and, in 2010, 9.1 percent of women and 11.7 percent of men were unemployed, higher rates than in the United States overall.

Thirteen percent of all households receive food stamps in North Carolina, where food insecurity is greater than in the nation as a whole. Only twelve percent of single women with children under five and incomes below the poverty threshold receive any cash assistance.

"There are under-recognized challenges that need to be addressed and underserved communities, including single mothers, who need support through improved policy and programs," said Beth Briggs of the North Carolina Council for Women.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies. IWPR is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women's studies, and public policy and public administration programs at The George Washington University.

SOURCE Institute for Women's Policy Research