Women and the Economy

Examining Economic Opportunity for Women ahead of Women’s Equality Day

This Friday marks the 91st anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the full right to vote. Women’s Equality Day, celebrated on August 26th , commemorates this crucial achievement that took 72 years of persistent campaigning and, at the time, was revolutionary. Almost a century later, it’s an opportunity to celebrate women’s engagement in the public sphere and to take a good look at the work that remains to be done on the path to equality.

Despite women’s higher college graduation rates and the significant increase in labor force participation over the past decades, wage and income inequality remains.  And the challenges of the Great Recession for all workers, including women, have undermined the prospects for accessing economic opportunity and security.

This week through a series of blog posts, we will examine various aspects of Women & the Economy in order to highlight the challenges women face in the labor market and in building wealth and opportunity for their families and in their communities.

Among the data points that we will explore are:

  • The Great Recession has seen a greater decline in women’s labor force participation and recent public sector layoffs have had a significant impact on women.
  • In North Carolina, women with a graduate or professional degree earn less than a men with B.A.s.
  • 828,000 women in North Carolina lived in poverty in 2009.
  • Two-thirds of caregivers nationwide are women and the vast majority are working at least part-time leading to a need for balancing family and work.

2 Comments


  1. Cali Pearl

    August 23, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I am looking forward to your discussions. The current state of economic affairs for most women is certainly distressing. I would be very interested in seeing how many women actually assume responsibility for the economic divide and inequality. Without blaming the obvious income and wage disparities, and recognizing that NC women are obviously well-educated based on your statistic, what can women do (or what have women done) to personally improve their financial situations? And how have their decisions affected their lives for better or worse?

  2. Pat Shea-Halson

    August 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you Alexandra for this excellent information, it has been very much appreciated. Happy anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the full right to vote. It is an opportunity to honour Women’s Equality Day, celebrated on August 26th. This is also a great opportunity for all women to congratulate themselves for the work they have participated in, to improve the growth of the economy! It is also important to remember that women make an enormous contribution to the economy by the unpaid work that they do on a daily basis. I look forward to your discussions and the other comments.

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