Building Philanthropy to Build a Better Florida

Gender wage gap narrows in Florida, but equal pay still two decades away

March 05, 2018

Economic Status of Women in Florida fact sheet reveals advances, inequities

TAMPA, Fla.  — A new Economic Status of Women in Florida fact sheet released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) in partnership with Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN) and Florida Women’s Funding Alliance (FWFA) finds that Florida has dropped from the middle to the worst third in the nation for women's Employment & Earnings and has risen from the worst to the middle third for Poverty & Opportunity. If current trends continue, women in Florida will not see equal pay until the year 2038.

Women in Florida have made advances in recent years but still face inequities that often prevent them from reaching their full potential. Since IWPR’s 2004 Status of Women in the States report was published, the gender wage gap in Florida has narrowed, a higher percentage of women have bachelor’s degrees and a larger share of women live in poverty. The difference between women’s and men’s median annual earnings would pay for 2.1 years of community college tuition in Florida. 

“We still have considerable work ahead to level the playing field for women in our state, despite advances in degree attainment and career opportunities,” said Robert McFalls, FPN president & CEO. “Florida Women’s Funding Alliance and FPN’s partnership with IWPR helps identify and prioritize steps to close the gender wage gap and support economic security and overall well-being for women and girls in Florida.”

Other key findings from the Economic Status of Women in Florida include:  

  • Women in Florida aged 16 and older who work full-time, year-round have median annual earnings of $35,000, which is 87.5 cents on the dollar compared with men who work full-time, year-round. Hispanic women earn just 60 cents for every dollar earned by White men. 
  • A growing share of employed women in Florida are in managerial or professional occupations. About 39 percent of women hold these positions, which tend to require a four-year degree and often have higher wages and employment benefits.
  • In Florida, 38.5 percent of businesses in 2012 were owned by women, up from 28.9 percent in 2007.
  • Approximately 29 percent of women aged 25 and older in Florida have a bachelor’s degree or higher, an increase of about 8 percentage points since 2000.

Improving the status of women in Florida requires improved educational opportunities, investment in women’s entrepreneurship and taking steps together to narrow the gender wage gap.

“We believe change is within our reach. That’s why we invest in programs that educate, boost security and entrepreneurship and advocate from a woman’s perspective,” said Brenda Tate CEO of the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation and FWFA co-founder. “Our investment in research on women in Florida through our association with Florida Women’s Funding Alliance, an affinity group of Florida Philanthropic Network, keeps us on the cutting edge of valuable information to advance the status of women in our service area.”

Released in December 2016 by Florida Women's Funding Alliance, Florida Philanthropic Network and Institute for Women's Policy Research, The Status of Women in Florida by County: Poverty & Opportunity report estimates that women’s poverty would be reduced by nearly 60 percent if Florida’s working women received equal pay. The report also provides policy recommendations for improving women’s status on indicators related to poverty and opportunity, including expanding health programs for low-income women, improving educational opportunities for women of color, investing in women’s entrepreneurship and additional steps to narrow the opportunity gap.

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About Florida Philanthropic Network and Florida Women’s Funding Alliance

Florida Women’s Funding Alliance (FWFA), an affinity group of Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN), envisions a Florida where women and girls thrive. The FWFA mission is to transform the lives of women and girls through members’ collective voices and resources. FWFA offers FPN members an opportunity to interact and connect with other staff and board members of foundations and other grantmaking organizations working to transform the lives of women and girls in Florida.

Florida Philanthropic Network understands the complexities of grantmaking in Florida’s unique and varied communities. Our FPN connects more than 700 Florida foundation leaders and grantmaking professionals, funder-focused programming, resources and research from the field. Together, FPN members can build a successful model for cooperation and collaboration among all sectors – business, government and nonprofit – to promote, develop and advance philanthropy and further the best interest of all Floridians.

About the Institute for Women’s Policy Research

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences. The Institute works with policymakers, scholars, and public interest groups to design, execute, and disseminate research and to build a diverse network of individuals and organizations that conduct and use women-oriented policy research. IWPR’s work is supported by foundation grants, government grants and contracts, donations from individuals, and contributions from organizations and corporations. IWPR is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the Program on Gender Analysis in Economics at American University.