Women and girls have come a long way on several fronts, but not far enough, says a new report.
How are women and girls faring in Minnesota?
A report released Tuesday by the Women's Foundation of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute's Center on Women & Public Policy attempts to answer that question.
"We've changed laws, practices and attitudes to promote fairness and opportunity," said Lee Roper-Batker, president and CEO, Women's Foundation of Minnesota. "But today, our research shows that women in Minnesota continue to be shortchanged in wages, safety, health, and leadership."
Here is their evidence:
• White, African-American and Latina women earn 76 cents, 61 cents and 56 cents on the dollar, respectively, compared to white men.
• 60 percent of Native American, 46 percent of Latina, 44 percent of African-American, and 42 percent of Asian female-headed households with children fall below the federal poverty line.
• More than twice as many women over 65 than men live below the poverty line, earning just over $11,233 a year in Social Security benefits.
• By midlife, 33 percent of Minnesota women have experienced a rape crime.
• 23 percent to 30 percent of Minnesota girls face harassment in school.
• By their 40s, about 33 percent of women have been a victim of intimate partner violence.
• A majority of Minnesota women are now considered obese or overweight.
• Girls are less likely to be physically active daily: 10 percent of 12th-grade girls compared to 24 percent of 12th grade boys.
• While cancer mortality for Minnesota women overall is lower than the national average, Native American women here are two times more likely to die from cancer than Native American women nationally.
• African-American women are 8 percent less likely than white women to get cancer, but 15 percent more likely overall to die from it.
• At 34 percent, Minnesota is a national leader in the proportion of women serving in the state Legislature. But progress has "flat-lined, and in some areas, is on the decline," said Roper-Batker.
• None of Minnesota's Fortune 500 companies is led by a woman.
The Women's Foundation of Minnesota will visit seven cities next week on a 2010 Road to Equality Tour: Warroad, Moorhead, Grand Rapids, Duluth, Willmar, St. Cloud and Rochester.
The Women's Foundation of Minnesota is a statewide community foundation that advocates for equality for women and girls. It is the oldest women's foundation in the country. The full report and details of the tour are available at www.wfmn.org.
Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511