The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham’s Status of Women report provides insight into challenges, solutions facing women statewide.

The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham today released their latest research, Status of Women in Alabama, the first of its kind to delve into both statewide and county-by-county well-being indicators for women. Commissioned by The Women’s Fund and based on data compilation by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, this report is an important benchmark on the issues most impacting women at the intersection of geographic location, race, ethnicity, and age and offers critical insights into the realities women face.

“Research has long been one of The Women’s Fund’s core strategies to accelerate economic opportunity for women because we know what gets measured, gets changed. Not only will our Status of Women report guide our grantmaking strategies and public policy priorities, we expect it to inform the strategies of nonprofits, corporate leaders, elected officials, and others also working to make a deeper, lasting impact for women and our community,” said Tracey Morant Adams, Board Chair for The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham and Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at Renasant Bank.

The report focuses on four essential areas that impact quality of life: work, earnings, and family; poverty and opportunity; health and well-being; and political representation and leadership, as well as early indictors about the effects of COVID-19.

Key findings include:

  • Women with children who wish to enter the workforce face steep child care costs: the annual cost for an infant (under 12 months old) in Alabama is $5,858, nearly 17 percent of women’s median annual earnings.
  • The gender wage gap in Alabama is wider than in most states and the national average. Women in Alabama earn only 73 cents for every dollar a man earns, compared to 82 cents for U.S. women overall
  • Women make up 15.7 percent of the Alabama Legislature (22 out of 140 members). On average, women make up 29.2 percent of a state’s legislature.
  • Women in Alabama are more likely than men to have filed for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for 57.3 percent of total claims.
  • Approximately 37.5 percent of Alabama women have experienced sexual assault, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.

The 2020 Status of Women in Alabama is the first edition of a series examining barriers and opportunities for Alabama women, positioning The Women’s Fund as a clearinghouse of data on the well-being of women across the state. “Put simply, there is a gender data gap in Alabama and beyond. We just don’t know what we don’t know about women—and we’re paying a price,” said Melanie R. Bridgeforth, President & CEO of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham. “Absent this information, we default to one-size-fits-all efforts to address our state’s challenges, but those have fallen short. As the only public women’s foundation in the state, The Women’s Fund is committed to contributing valuable data, specifically on women, woefully absent at decision-making tables from board rooms to the State House.”

Critically, the report not only looks at gender, but when available, the data is disaggregated by race, age, and family composition. “Gender is not a standalone identifier in women’s lives,” continued Bridgeforth. “By using disaggregated data, Status of Women reveals important trends and differences between different groups of women by race, income, and place that might otherwise be obscured. This is essential information for state leaders working to develop targeted solutions addressing the challenges women face.”

Updated editions of Status of Women in Alabama will be published biennially by The Women’s Fund.

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Learn more about our research here.

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