Newsday, June 27, 2008: Report: New York women’s poverty levels rise

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June 27, 2008

A report released yesterday assessing women’s economic status in New York gave the state a C overall, but raised concerns about an increase in poverty rates among women, stagnant wages and a growing income gap between rich and poor that the report called the worst in the nation.

The report showcases a “tale of two New York states: one of great opportunity and one of deep disadvantage,” said Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The report was commissioned by the New York Women’s Foundation and conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, based in Washington. It found that New York scored well in women’s employment in managerial and professional jobs, ranking ninth among all states, and in women’s earnings, ranking 13th, and in the percentage of women-owned businesses, ranking 8th.

Yet, the report found the median earnings for New York women in 2005 had stagnated and, at $33,300, were $100 lower than in 1989.

The median earnings for African-American women ($33,800), Hispanic women ($31,800) and American Indian women ($29,000) were considerably lower than Asian-American women ($39,200) and white women ($39,700) – an example, the report said, of persistent racial disparities.

Gina Hill Slater Parker, president of Black Women Enterprises in Hempstead, a nonprofit group of women business owners, said this was not surprising. “Nothing has happened that has been groundbreaking to change that outcome.”

Overall, New York State women earned 78.4 percent of what men earned.

The report also found that poverty among New York women rose since 1989, when the percentage of women living above the poverty line was 87.2 percent. By 2005, the report found the percentage above poverty had dropped to 84.8 percent, ranking the state 40th.

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