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Texas Gets Low Marks for Women’s Equality

Women are finding equality in some areas of military service, but overall in Texas and the U.S., research indicates they are losing ground. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

by Mark Richardson

AUSTIN, Texas – Saturday is Women’s Equality Day, but many women in Texas say they’re losing ground instead of making gains – and new statistics back them up.

A survey out this week ranks Texas the third-worst state in the country for equal status between men and women.

Lucy Stein, advocacy director for the civil rights group Progress Texas, points to the current political climate as one reason women are fighting an uphill battle for equal rights in the Lone Star State.

“Women’s equality, unfortunately in Texas, is trending downward, and we are seeing the Republican leadership in our government – from Gov. Abbott on down – unwilling to address these real challenges facing women every day,” she states.

The survey, from the marketing firm WalletHub, ranks Texas 48th out of 50 states based on data from 15 indicators of gender equality.

Among the findings: Texas ranked 31st in both overall earnings and minimum wage gap, 28th in executive positions and 45th in political representation.

While Texas women encounter challenges in almost every part of their lives, including access to health care and opportunities in the workplace, Stein says women of color face the highest levels of pay inequality.

“On average, a Texas woman working full-time, year-round makes 79 cents for every dollar a man makes,” she points out. “But when you dig a little deeper, the gap gets even worse. African-American women are paid 59 cents to the dollar, and Latino women, 44 cents. “

Stein says women’s issues are unlikely to get the attention they deserve until more Texas women run for office.

“Women are dramatically under represented in political office,” she states. “Texas ranks among state legislatures with the least proportion of women, and I think that definitely is reflected in the policies that are championed in the legislature.”

The survey shows that Texas may be indicative of how women are faring across the country.

Among the 144 countries in the Global Gender Gap index, the United States’ level of women’s equality has fallen to 45th in the world, down from 28th just a few years ago.

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