New Report: “The Road to Equality for Women in the U.S.”

MFWlogo_web_281pxThis week while in New York City I attended a breakfast to launch a new report by the Ms. Foundation called “The Road to Equality for Women in the United States” As you all know I am a research on women and girls junky, and so this was like an instant shot of ‘fire me up drug.’

This new study focuses on three important areas: Economic Justice, Reproductive Justice and Safety, and proposes a benchmark for the status of women today.  It can serve as a guide to critical policy changes to help women overcome the challenges that impact us all. This study reflects the Ms. Foundation for Women’s new strategic direction, which seeks to develop a sharper focus for greater impact and to bring about change on a larger scale. This research report is more compelling and powerful evidence that (and see my  TEDxWomen talk) narrowing gender gaps is good for business, good for economic growth, good for everyone. Here are the key statistics from the report:

Economic Justice: “The world we want: An America where all women have full economic parity”

  • Over a lifetime of work, the average woman earns about $380,000 less than the average working man.
  • Of families headed by single mothers, 28.7 percent- 4 million of them- lived in poverty compared with 13 percent- or 670,000- of those headed by men.
  • Wage data indicate that African American women can expect to earn only 68 cents, and Latinas only 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man; by contrast white women earn 82 cents.
  • 43 percent of single women with families are classified as poor.
  • In 2008, the average cost of full-day care for an infant was equal to 41 percent of the median income for single mothers.
  • 94.6 percent of child care workers are female, with an average income of $20,350, or about 120 percent of the federal poverty line for a family of three.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 20 of 821 occupations reported by the agency have lower average wages than child care workers.

Reproductive Justice: “The world we want: An America where women have full decision-making authority over their bodies and unfettered access to health care.”

  • Women of color experience maternal mortality rates nearly four times those of whites.
  • The incidence of cervical cancer for Latinas is almost twice that of non-Latina white women, and black women and Latinas have the highest mortality rate from cervical cancer, a highly preventable disease (85 percent of women who die from cervical cancer never had a pap smear).
  • In families with a new baby, 12.9 percent become poor in the month the child was born; this figure increases to 24.6 percent for female-headed households.
  • 87 percent of U.S. counties, home to 35 percent of women of reproductive age, have no abortion provider.
  • The U.S. teen pregnancy rate continues to be one of the highest in the industrialized world.

Safety: “The world we want: An America that protects women and girls from child sexual abuse, rape and assault.”

  • Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women.
  • 18 to 20 percent of female students suffer rape or another form of sexual assault during their college years.
  • 90 percent of child sexual abuse cases are not reported.
  • Female managers experience 137 percent more sexual harassment than women without supervisory authority.
  • Today, a woman serving in Iraq or Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow service member than to be killed in the line of fire. Nearly on in three women is raped during her service, according to a Veterans Affairs Administration study.
  • In 2000, sexual assault among youth aged 12 to 17 was 2.3 times higher than for adults. Adult retrospective studies show that one in four women and one in six men were sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • When it comes to women and girls with developmental disabilities, as many as 83 percent are the victims of sexual assault at some point in their lifetime.


HUGE thanks to the Ms. Foundation for this incredible work.  I join you in celebrating 40 years!!!!!!! as a foundation and a leader in funding and supporting grass roots women’s organizations. I invite EVERYONE to the Gloria Awards (see video of her talking about it here) on May 13th 2013 to celebrate! With a special shout out to awardee Lauren Embrey, one of the most incredible women I am honored to know and call a friend. (and Women Moving Millions Board Member!)

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