Women and the Economy

Report: NC Women make significant gains, but struggle to find economic equality

Sunday marks “Women’s Equality Day” – commemorating the date in 1920 when women in the United States won the right to vote.

In advance of the occasion, state officials released a preliminary report this week detailing some of the significant social and economic advances women in North Carolina have made in recent decades. But the report, The Status of Women in North Carolina, also details the disparities that persist especially in the area of economic security.

Among the key findings:

  • Nearly six in ten women are now in the workforce (U.S. Department of Commerce 2012a), compared to 34 percent of women in 1950 and 43 percent of women in 1970(Fullerton 1999). Women’s labor force participation in North Carolina reflects this trend; as of 2010, 59 percent of women were active in the workforce.
  • In North Carolina, as in the United States as a whole, women have higher levels of education than men. Women in the state are more likely than men to hold an associate’s degree or have some college education (33 percent of women compared to 28 percent of men) or to have a bachelor’s degree or higher (27 percent of women compared to 26 percent of men). A smaller proportion of women than men have not graduated from high school (13 percent of women compared to 17 percent of men).iii
  • Despite women’s higher educational attainment, women’s wages in North Carolina lag behind men’s. In 2010, the median annual earnings for women who work full-time, year-round in North Carolina were $7,000 (or $135 per week) less than the median annual earnings of comparable men; women’s earnings were $33,000, compared to $40,000 for men.
  • In North Carolina, as in the United States as a whole, the gender wage gap is even larger when only men and women at the same educational level are compared. Women who have at least a college degree and work full-time, year-round earn more than $20,000 less per year than comparable men (a gender wage gap of 29 percent); for women with some college education or an associate’s degree, the loss of earnings for women is about $10,000 per year (a gender wage gap of 24 percent).
  • In North Carolina, poverty status varies considerably by race and ethnicity. Among women in the state, Hispanic women are the most likely to be poor or near poor (64 percent), followed by American Indian (54 percent) and black (52 percent) women. Asian American and white women are the least likely to be poor or near poor (35 percent and 30 percent, respectively).

The full 2012 Status of Women in North Carolina report is slated to be released in October. To read an advance fact sheet on the findings prepared by the independent Institute for Women’s Policy Research on behalf of the N.C. Council for Women , click here.



  1. Frank Burns

    August 24, 2012 at 10:41 am

    With a terrible economy both men and women are worse off than we were 4 years ago, except……. if you are a government worker. They’ve been doing grand!

  2. […] Progressive Pulse links to a preliminary findings for an upcoming report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research on the economic status of women in North Carolina. This Sunday, “Women’s Equality Day,” celebrates the date that women won the right to vote in the United States. This new report shows, however, that we have a long way to go before we can truly say that women have achieved equality. […]

  3. david esmay

    August 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Moronic statement considering there have been massive government layoffs, in fact that’s what keeping our unemployment high, Frank.

  4. frances

    August 25, 2012 at 8:14 am

    If you believe that fantasy david, I’ve got some great property for you ! You’ve been drinking too much Obama water.

  5. gregflynn

    August 25, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Since January 2009 the private sector has gained 332,000 jobs while the government sector has lost 648,000 jobs.

  6. Frank Burns

    August 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Oh yeah Greg, I heard that one from Obama, “the private sector is doing fine”. Hardly. How many jobs has the private sector lost since January 2009? You left that out.

  7. frances

    August 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I would be embarrassed putting that post on Greg- a net loss in jobs after spending trillions in stimulus, and printing enough phony money to cover Washington. This has been a pathetic recovery, probably the worst in American history with very little to look forward to. Obama has been an abject failure on the economy.

  8. Frank Burns

    August 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Not to mention many of those government jobs were temporary census jobs. They were never intended to be permanent. They like to spin a story to make a bad situation look good.

  9. gregflynn

    August 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    The numbers quoted are based on BLS statistics for the total number of private sector and public sector jobs in Jan 2009 and Jul 2012. The numbers given above are the difference between the total number of jobs in Jan 2009 and the total number of jobs in Jul 2012. Each the number given above is the sum of total jobs gained less total jobs lost over that period. There is a net gain in the private sector and a net loss in public sector over that period. Most of the 2010 Census jobs were gained and lost in the first six months of 2010 and have little effect, if any, on the total number of jobs in either Jan 2009 or July 2012.

  10. david esmay

    August 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Trillions in stimulus, Frances? What are you talking about? You have completely checked out of reality, your comments are devoid of facts and make no sense what so ever. Frank, the majority of those lost jobs were government positions, like say your local extension office, DNR,DOT, teaching positions, law enforcement, public service, etc.

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