The “SHE MATTERS: 2012 Status of Women and Girls in Iowa” report was released this morning at the Coralville Marriott by the Iowa Women’s Leadership Project.
The 52-page report outlines a number of statistics, including:
-Nearly 14 percent of women in Iowa live in poverty,
-One in three women do not have health insurance and
-Women comprise 58 percent of Iowa’s homeless and more than 20 percent of the state’s offender population.
Other data includes:
-Six in 10 Iowa college students are women,
-Nearly equal numbers ofIowa women and men have advanced degrees,
-A greater percentage of Iowa women than men are registered voters,
-80 percent of women ages 16-64 years old are part of the labor force in Iowa and
-More than half of the state’s working women consider themselves the family’s primary breadwinner.
The release of the report coincides with the Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference’s April 25 “State of Change 2012” leadership conference at the Coralville Marriott. About 900 women are expected to attend the event.
Barbara Corcoran, who stars on ABC’s reality show, “Shark Tank,” is the keynote speaker. Ms. Corcoran started with a $1,000 loan and went on to build a $5 billion real estate firm and speaks across the country about her successes. Betsy Myers, founding director of the Center for Women & Business at Bentley University, will be the morning workshop leader.
The women’s status report will be the topic of conversation during post-lunch workshops. There, attendees will develop the top 10 issues to focus on and teams will work on steps that can be taken to improve the status of Iowa women. The Iowa Women’s Leadership Project intends to share the report results at public forums statewide and the group plans to provide a status update in September.
The Iowa Women’s Leadership Project, a public-private organization focused on supporting Iowa’s girls and women, formed in 2011 to address the concerns and goals that result from the Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference. The project is chaired by Diane Ramsey, who is executive director of the conference and principal project manager at Rockwell Collins.
“These are not just women’s issues, these are everyone’s issues,” Ms. Ramsey said.
The report aims to provide data and statistics about the socioeconomic status of women inIowain order to improve the lives in women and in turn, increase productivity and economic growth and decrease poverty.
“Women and girls still face substantial challenges in the areas of income, health, autonomy, education, employment and other very important aspects of their lives,” said Amy Johnson Boyle, a volunteer member of the leadership conference and vice president of development for the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.
Terry Hernandez, the report’s author and executive director of the Chrysalis Foundation in Des Moines, said that while more young women are excelling in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) courses in high school, few are pursuing those fields in college or as careers.
“We lose them in college; girls don’t major in those courses,” she said. “Even women who graduate with those degrees very seldom take a job in a career that is a STEM-oriented career.”
Linda Kinman of Des Moines-based Nexus Executive Women’sAllianceand author of the accompanying report Nexus Index 2012, said men and women are judged differently when it comes time to promote employees to management positions.
“Senior-level management remains stuck in the notion that certain jobs just aren’t for women,” she said. “There’s a tendency to reward men for their potential and women for their performance.”
The Nexus Index 2012 report found that while young women continue to constitute the sizable majority of high achievers in educational settings, that achievement does not translate into positions of peak earning power and leadership. A bright spot, Ms. Kinman said, is more law firms are actively hiring women as partners.