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By Jai-Leen James, Contributing Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – In ordinance of Women’s History Month, the findings from a status report of women in Miami-Dade County has been released. The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners partnered with the Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center to shed light on current conditions and to showcase where action is needed.

Women in Miami-Dade County press conference, Miami Beach, Miami, Florida, News
Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson delivering remarks at the 2019 Status of Women in Miami-Dade County press conference, photo by Jai-Leen James.

The 2019 report shows that the wage disparity has not improved over the last decade, from 2007 to 2017. Despite women being equivalently educated and qualified as men, they only make about 86 cents to a dollar a man earns. Black women earn 63 cents on the dollar compared to white women.

The median earnings for Miami-Dade women employed year-round was $31,875. Men, on the other hand, earned 14.2 percent more with an average of $37,164 per year. Despite equal levels of education, men get paid 13.1 percent more than women with a bachelor’s degree and 29 percent more with an associate’s degree. The only occupational categories in which women earned more were health technology, construction and arts, design and media.

“Despite the fact that more women than ever are graduating from colleges and universities, an unacceptable wage gap persists,” said Commissioner Levine Cava. “It is our hope that by sharing this crucial report with the community, we can all join in crafting common-sense solutions that will further improve the lives of women and girls in Miami-Dade County.”

The percentage of women ages 25-39 with science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees has increased to 44.8 percent in 2017 from 39.1 percent in 2016, Miami Beach, Miami, Florida, News
The percentage of women ages 25-39 with science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees has increased to 44.8 percent in 2017 from 39.1 percent in 2016, photo by Jai-Leen James.

Female high school students in Miami-Dade continue to surpass male students in graduation rates and also have lower dropout rates. However, there are almost 32,000 women in Miami-Dade without any schooling completed and nearly 160,000 women that have completed less than high school. Over eighty percent of these women are black or Hispanic.

The inconsistency between men and women in the county exists beyond occupation and salary. While women are more likely to have a health insurance and less likely to partake in unhealthy habits such as smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol, they are more likely to suffer from depression, disabilities, cancer and obesity. About one in four women are obese in Miami-Dade.

Of the 3,847 reported homeless in Miami-Dade in 2017, 25 percent are women. The women’s poverty rate has always been higher than men. One in four black women and men in the county live in poverty. The poverty rate is highest for women under 18 years old (22 percent) and women over 65 years old (21 percent) but lowest among white women at 8.9 percent.

Research on gender inequality began after the Board of County Commissioners adopted the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women in 2015. Since then, an annual report has been released  to measure gender equality in Miami-Dade, the first county in the country to do so.

“With the help of my colleagues on the Board of County Commissioners, I look forward to reviewing and implementing these recommendations to address inequalities that still exist between men and women,” said County Commission Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson.

“As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let’s commit ourselves to truly valuing and supporting women, because when women do well, our society does well.”

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