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Report: Strides Needed to Boost Hoosier Women

The Hoosier State gets a failing grade when it comes to work and family issues and their impact on women. (Connie Barnwell)
The Hoosier State gets a failing grade when it comes to work and family issues and their impact on women. (Connie Barnwell)
January 11, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana has a long way to go when it comes to equality between men and women, according to new research on the status of women. The report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research says the number of Indiana women living below the federal poverty level has been on the rise.

Senior research associate and the report's co-author Julie Anderson, says paying women the same as men for comparable work and hours would pull more than half of those women out of poverty, and have a ripple effect on the entire state.

"The wage gap is obviously a drain on individual women, but a huge drain on the state economy, and public assistance programs," she said. "And so that's a big, big policy lever that would have a huge impact."

Indiana is ranked 39th in the nation when it comes to wages and opportunity for women. Hoosier women make about 76 cents for every dollar a man makes.

Anderson says providing paid sick days and family leave is another policy that would make a big difference to Hoosier women, as they typically shoulder the responsibility when family illnesses or emergencies arise.

"It's women who will back out of the labor force, and that's very, very difficult to recover from," she added. "But paid sick days and paid family leave will support families in keeping multiple earners in the workforce and not dropping out because of that impossible bind."

Indiana does not have paid-leave legislation. The report also says more women in the state are registered to vote than men, but women hold only 20 percent of the seats in the state Legislature.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN