Women in New York State today are faring worse economically than they did in 1989, a new report from the New York Women's Foundation finds.
Researched and written by the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington, D.C., the report, The Economic Status of Women in New York State (47 pages, PDF), looks at how women in New York fare in the areas of employment, earnings, and social and economic autonomy. While finding substantial potential for women's economic progress, the study painted a stark portrait of poverty, particularly among women of color, with women in the state more likely to live in poverty than women in most other states (15.2 percent vs. 12.7 percent nationally).
According to the report, the median annual earnings for women in the state in 2005 was $33,000 — slightly higher than for women nationally ($31,800). And while women had slightly higher education levels than men across all races and ethnicities, they consistently earned less than men at the same education level. The report also found disparities between white women and African-American, Latina, and Native-American women across these indicators.
To improve the economic status of women in the state, the report's authors offer several recommendations, including increasing access to high quality affordable child care and paid time off benefits such as sick days, parental leave and family care; eliminating gender- and race-based discrimination in the workplace and ensuring equal pay for equal work through promotion and pay evaluations within companies; and promoting entrepreneurship among women by increasing government contracts and subsidies for women-owned businesses and women's access to business credit.
"We are deeply troubled by the growing gap between the rich and poor in our state," said NYWF president and CEO Ana L. Oliveira. "It is unacceptable that in such a resource-rich environment thousands of women and families live in poverty. If we are to eradicate poverty, we need to come together to identify and support lasting solutions."