Despite the progress women have made in education and all the campaigns that encourage women to seek out more fulfilling job opportunities, women are still not on track to attain equal pay with men—at least in our lifetimes.
IWPR’s series, Status of Women in the States: 2015, released its latest installment, and reported that the number of women living above the poverty line has dropped from 87.9% in 2002 to 85.4% since 2013. According to Daily Beast, these gaps are more vivid in Southern states like Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. These shifts are in spite of women making great strides in education, which ostensibly could lead to higher earnings and improved quality of life.
Racial lines further widen the gap: Poverty rates for black, Hispanic, and Native American women is roughly double the rate of white women. And even though 36.3% of women currently hold a bachelor’s degree—or higher—compared to 28.3% of men, women still have a long way to go before we truly catch up.
As reported by the Daily Beast, Heidi Hartmann, the president of IWPR and a MacArthur Fellow, had this to say about the findings: “Despite their significant educational progress, women remain more economically vulnerable than men and this is especially true for millennials, who represent the future of our labor market and economy. The inequality between women’s and men’s wages and their differential poverty rates, at all ages and educational levels, is a significant part of the income inequality story that is not being told.”
At least end on a positive note, though: Female-owned businesses have grown, with women of color accounting for 32% of that new growth. For every step forward there’s also a hurdle to overcome; luckily, women—as they’ve always been—have the strength to keep moving equality forward.
Image c/o For Harriet and Spelman College