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Click on the Graphic Below to View Status of Women in Florida By County Key Findings

Women have made great strides in equality and social justice over the years. We live in a country where women have legal protections against discrimination – in the workplace, in the housing and credit markets, and in accessing education. Sadly, there are still segments of our culture that see nothing wrong with harassing and discriminating against women and girls, where women have less opportunity and status than men.
It is vital to have the facts, to know where the actual problems are, and where to push for long-lasting change. That is why it is so important to have recent and accurate research – both locally and nationally.

The Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida is dedicated to being a valuable source of information on women’s topics for organizations and individuals. We collaborated with the Florida Women’s Funding Alliance, an affinity group of Florida Philanthropic Network, to plan, fund and commission the Status of Women in Florida by County project.The following report on Poverty and Opportunity is the first in a series of reports produced for us by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR).

Status of Women in Florida by County: Poverty & Opportunity finds that despite top rankings in the nation on women’s business ownership, women in Florida have higher rates of poverty, lower educational attainment and lower access to health insurance coverage than women in the United States overall.

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 gaps.

Additional findings from the report on women’s Poverty & Opportunity in Florida include:

  • More women in Florida live in poverty today than in 2004. In 2014, more than one in seven (15.4 percent) Florida women lived in poverty, compared with 12.6 percent in 2004. The state ranks in the bottom third of all states on the share of women living in poverty. There are five Florida counties where poverty rates among women exceed 25 percent: Gilchrist, DeSoto, Hamilton, Alachua and Hardee.
  • Florida ranks 50th in the nation on the percent of nonelderly women with health insurance. Following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the health insurance coverage rate among women in Florida increased, from 73.8 percent covered in 2013 to 78.3 percent in 2014, but coverage rates among women are still well below the national average of 85.4 percent. Florida did not choose to expand Medicaid under the ACA. One in five of the approximately 2.9 million adults who would have gained coverage through the Medicaid expansion provision live in Florida.
  • More than one in four Florida women aged 25 and older has a bachelor’s degree or higher (26.7 percent), compared with 28.1 percent of Florida men. In more than half of Florida counties, fewer than one in five women aged 25 and older has a college degree.
  • Between 2002 and 2012, Florida had the fourth highest growth rate in women-owned businesses in the country. The share of businesses owned by women grew by nearly 85 percent to 38.5 percent in 2012. Despite growth in the number of businesses owned by women, the share of the private sector workforce employed by women-owned businesses and the revenues of women-owned businesses have remained relatively stagnant since 2002.

    Click to Download The Status of Women in Florida by County 2016 Report

Previous Reports on the Status of Women in Southwest Florida

Click on the photo below to download 2012 The Status of Women in Southwest Florida.

Other Research Links

Realizing that knowledge and understanding are key in addressing the needs of women, numerous organizations conduct research programs. The information they provide is crucial for working for equality and justice at the state, national and international levels.

Center for American Women and Politics

Center for Women Policy Studies

Institute for Women’s Policy Research

Ms. Foundation for Women

National Council for Research on Women

Women’s Funding Network

United Way ALICE-Florida