Raleigh, N.C. — Preliminary results from a new study on how women are faring in North Carolina show that women have made significant social and economic advances since 2000, but more progress is needed, Gov. Bev Perdue said Thursday.
The full findings from the 2012 Status of Women in North Carolina – an independent report prepared for the North Carolina Council for Women, an advocacy agency within the state Department of Administration – is expected to be released in October.
Since the last report was issued in 1996, North Carolina’s women have achieved higher levels of education than men. They represent 59 percent of the state’s workforce and own 28 percent of the state’s businesses. However, they continue to be paid less than male counterparts, according to the data.
While 66 percent of women with children under age 5 are in the workforce, the cost of child care remains more expensive than the average annual tuition and fees for a public four-year college in North Carolina.
“Many North Carolina women have experienced life-changing benefits as a result of our state’s emphasis on improving educational opportunities, including those that provide job-ready skills,” Perdue said in a statement. “It is clear, however, that too many North Carolina women remain vulnerable to economic insecurity caused by unemployment, a persistent wage gap, poverty and the high cost of child care.”
Officials said the full report will analyze key issues, including employment and earnings; economic security and poverty; health and well-being; and political participation of women in North Carolina. Officials said the data is intended to serve as a resource for advocates, researchers, community leaders, policymakers and others.
Perdue has declared Saturday as Women’s Equality Day in recognition of the 92nd anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. She encourages women to celebrate the occasion by registering to vote and speaking to policymakers about the needs of their communities.
Officials said the study was funded through a partnership with the state and private interests, including the Wells Fargo Foundation.