Women own more than 42 percent of District businesses, a factor in why D.C. ranks the highest among 14 southern states on the overall status of women in a new report released today.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research gave the District a grade of “B,” whereas all other jurisdictions it reviewed got no more than a “C-“. The report’s authors analyzed “political participation, employment and earnings, work and family, poverty and opportunity, reproductive rights, health and well-being, and violence and safety” to score the states. D.C. received an “A” or “A-” in the second, fourth, and fifth areas.
“With over one third of the nation’s women and girls calling the South home, a lack of progress for women in the region is a setback for the United States overall and especially for the South,” IWPR President Heidi Hartmann said in a statement. “The good news is that this report provides a roadmap for accelerating lasting change for women in the South.”
Despite the District’s overall high ranking, the report scored it with a “D-” for “health and well-being.” In part, that’s because it has the highest mortality rate for breast cancer among the states surveyed, at 29.1 out of 100,000 incidences. D.C. also has the highest incidence rate of AIDS among women in the south, at 36.9 per 100,000. The District’s black women are disproportionately affected by AIDS, at nearly twice that rate.
Still, according to the report, D.C. is the only southern jurisdiction that boasts paid leave, which lawmakers are currently considering expanding as a near-universal benefit for District workers. (D.C. was not scored for “political participation” among women “due to its city council not adequately reflecting state offices and due to its lack of national representatives with full voting power,” per the report.) Notably, IWPR analyzed that universal paid-leave proposal for the D.C. Council—pegging its cost at a relatively low $280.8 million.
You can read the full report here.
Screenshot via IWPR report