“Status of Women in N.C.” report: Significant social, economic advances, but challenges remain

PRESS RELEASE from the governor’s offce

Gov. Bev Perdue today announced that preliminary findings of the 2012 Status of Women in North Carolina report indicate that women in North Carolina have made significant social and economic advances since 2000, but the need for further progress remains. The report is being prepared by the independent Institute for Women’s Policy Research on behalf of the N.C. Council for Women in the N.C. Department of Administration.

“Many North Carolina women have experienced life-changing benefits as a result of our state’s emphasis on improving educational opportunities, including those that provide job-ready skills,” Gov. Perdue said. “It is clear, however, that too many North Carolina women remain vulnerable to economic insecurity caused by unemployment, a persistent wage gap, poverty and the high cost of child care.”

In tandem with the release of early data, Gov. Perdue has declared Saturday as Women’s Equality Day in North Carolina in recognition of the 92nd anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. She encourages women to celebrate the occasion by registering to vote and speaking to policymakers about the needs of their communities. The proclamation is posted at http://www.governor.state.nc.us/NewsItems/ProclamationList.aspx.

“Engagement in social and economic progress is essential to the ongoing success of North Carolina women, particularly those of different races and ethnic groups as well as among women from various geographic areas within the state,” said Beth Briggs, Executive Director of the N.C. Council for Women. “By working together to address these challenges and disparities, we will further enhance the well-being and vibrancy of our state.”

The full Status of Women in North Carolina report is scheduled for October release. A preliminary fact sheet, Key Findings on the Economic Status of Women in North Carolina, identifies both progress and continued challenges for women in relation to unemployment; education, earnings, and the gender wage gap; and economic security and poverty. The fact sheet can be found online at http://www.councilforwomen.nc.gov/documents/publications/NCWomenFactSheet.pdf

Since the last Status of Women Report was issued in 1996, North Carolina’s women have achieved higher levels of education than men; they represent 59 percent of North Carolina’s work force and own 28 percent of the state’s businesses. However, they continue to be paid less than male counterparts.

Additionally, while 66 percent of women with children under age 5 are in the workforce, the cost of child care remains more expensive than the average annual tuition and fees for a public four-year college in North Carolina.

The full report will analyze key issues – such as employment and earnings, economic security and poverty, health and well-being, and political participation – that profoundly affect the lives of women in North Carolina. The data that the report presents is intended to serve as a resource for advocates, researchers, community leaders, policymakers and others who seek to analyze and discuss community investments, program initiatives, and public policies that will lead to positive change for women in North Carolina and nationwide.

The 2012 Status of Women in North Carolina report is made possible by a funding partnership between the N.C. Council for Women and community partners, notably the Wells Fargo Foundation.

“Women make up more than 55 percent of Wells Fargo’s North Carolina workforce. They are critical to our success as a company, as they are to our state’s economy,” said Laura Schulte, president of Wells Fargo’s Eastern Community Bank. “We’re proud to play a role in creating the Status of Women in North Carolina report; we know this data will be used to support the economic advancement of our state’s women for years to come.”

Other funding partners include Women for Women with the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, the Women to Women Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, the Women’s Giving Circle at the Community Foundation of Cumberland County, the Mountain Area Health and Education Center Department of OB-GYN and the Women’s Fund at the North Carolina Community Foundation.


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