The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida releases groundbreaking research report on the status of women in Southwest Florida
The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida has completed a study on the status of women in Southwest Florida, examining four core areas including population and diversity, employment and income, achievement and autonomy, health and well-being. The Women’s Fund commissioned the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University to investigate the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida in order to benchmark progress, inform public policy, set funding priorities and programming, and to inspire demand for additional knowledge about the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida.
Key findings of the research are being used to help guide The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida in opportunities for establishing programs and directing funds. Several positive attributes for women in Southwest Florida were found:
- A greater percentage of girls than boys graduate from high school
- More women are registered to vote than men
- Nearly 5 percent of women are self-employed in their own incorporated business
- Women currently have lower rates of unemployment
But other key findings cause concern:
- Median annual earnings for women are about 87 percent of that earned by men in Southwest Florida
- Women own only 26 percent of Southwest Florida businesses
- Only 67 percent of Southwest Florida corporate boards include women
- No women represent Southwest Florida in the U.S. House or Senate
- Southwest Florida homeownership rates for women (8.5-15.2 percent) are substantially less than overall homeownership (71-79 percent)
“The research explored issues facing women and girls in Southwest Florida such as why fewer women work in management occupations than men, how many women start businesses per year, and what types of businesses women are likely to start,” said Brenda Tate. “As a result, The Women’s Fund is investigating several new programs to support financial and educational opportunities for women. One is a leveraged savings program for low-to-moderate income women to assist them in building financial assets for education/training, first home purchase, or business startup/expansion. The other is a program to offer women business owners access to capital for their business start-up or expansion paired with training and counseling. The success of these programs will depend on the Fund’s collaboration with partners such as the Small Business Development Center, CredAbility.org, and financial institutions serving our region.”
The mission of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is to raise money through federal and state grants, and relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employ a strategic grant-making model to fund programs and organizations that address the special, critical needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida. Founding members of the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida Board of Directors include Brenda Tate, president; Linda Uhler, Secretary/Treasurer; Lalai Hamric, Vice Chair and Lou Pontius, Chair. For more information and to view the executive summary of The Status of Women in Southwest Florida report, visit http://www.womensfundflorida.org/ or email email@example.com. Follow The Women’s Fund online at facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.