Louisiana Women Have A Long Way To Go For Equality
Women’s Equality Day commemorates the day women in the United States were granted the right to vote on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified as law. Lift Louisiana commemorates this day by noting some of issues that are holding women back in our state from achieving equality.
Louisiana has been ranked as the worst state to live in for women, coming in dead last in many important cultural and socioeconomic categories. For example, Louisiana ranked 51st in the nation in gender pay inequity. Women, on average, earn just 65 percent of what men do, and the gap is even greater for women of color, with African American women in Louisiana typically making only 48 cents for every dollar paid to white men. Twenty percent of women and forty-seven percent of single mothers in Louisiana live in poverty. In Louisiana, women are concentrated in low-wage jobs with nearly 8 in 10 minimum wage workers being women.
According to WalletHub, Louisiana also ranks one of the worst places to be a working mom and to have a baby. In 2010, more than half of all pregnancies in Louisiana were unintended; public spending for unplanned pregnancies in Louisiana totaled an estimated $651 million that year. Being able to plan when and whether to have a family is critical to improving the economic conditions of women. Additionally, working women in Louisiana struggling to secure affordable, high-quality child care and early learning have to make decisions about where, how much or whether to work at all. These decisions shape the economic outcomes of families throughout the state.
“We cannot continue to be on these ‘worst’ lists when it comes to women and families in this state,” says Michelle Erenberg, Executive Director of Lift Louisiana. “If our lawmakers are serious about supporting families, they need to take these issues seriously and commit to supporting common sense policies that will close the gender gap, raise the minimum wage, provide affordable, high-quality childcare to working families, ensure family and sick leave for working parents, and provide access to family planning, contraception and education.”