The Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s (IWPR) Status of Women in the States ranks the state of Tennessee as 34th when calculating factors such as employment and poverty. The featured image illustrates states’ positions on women’s progress with shades of blue to indicate levels A-F.
In short, these findings leave room for a great deal of improvement. Tennessee, along with the United States as a whole, is making slow progress in several areas, namely the gender wage gap.
Despite major advances in higher education, women are more likely than men to live in poverty. In fact nearly 30% of employed Tennessee women work in low-wage jobs. Again, millennial women continue to receive lower earnings and experience higher rates of poverty, even after attaining more education. In Tennessee, women are making 83.8 cents for every dollar a man earns on average. If we proceed in a similar manner, women will potentially begin to receive equal pay in as far into the future as 2059.
It’s time to speak up for women. “These social, political, and economic changes are always cast as a slow, arduous form of catch-up in a continuing struggle for female equality.” (Hanna Rosin) Thankfully, the Women’s Fund is working to advocate for the lives of low-income women and girls in East Tennessee. The Women’s Fund awarded grants to several impactful programs and organizations this year. These recipients are empowering women and girls by encouraging the pursuit of higher education, building life skills, and establishing confidence to ultimately become successfully self-sufficient.