Through a Gender Lens
Through a Gender Lens

The Economic Security of Women and Girls in Forsyth County in 2020

Through a Gender Lens

The Economic Security of Women and Girls in Forsyth County in 2020

Through a Gender Lens

The Economic Security of Women and Girls in Forsyth County in 2020

It has been 10 years since The Women's Fund published its first Through a Gender Lens report.

After seeing the importance of highlighting data that focused on the economic security of women and girls in Forsyth County, the Fund committed to producing a report of its nature every five years. While we chose a print format for our two previous reports, we decided to take a different approach with our third Through a Gender Lens report by presenting it as an interactive microsite with the goal to make the information more accessible and engaging.

Never could we have imagined when we produced our first report what challenges the year 2020 would bring, especially for women and girls. We know from preliminary national research that women and girls across the country are being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to fear of exposure and the loneliness of social isolation, some women have had to juggle being caregivers and even part-time teachers to little ones while working from home, as others have had to figure out how to make ends meet after losing their jobs. Although it is too early to provide data that specifically speaks to the impact COVID-19 has had on women and girls in Forsyth County in this report, we know that the pandemic has only enhanced the gender and racial inequities you will see throughout the data on this site.

Although it is too early to provide data that specifically speaks to the impact of COVID-19 has had on women and girls in Forsyth County in this report, we know that the pandemic has only enhanced the gender and racial inequities you will see throughout the data on this site.

In recent years, The Women’s Fund Board has engaged in conversations about the intersection of gender and race, recognizing that the experiences of women of color are different from their White counterparts. The repeated racial injustices we have seen in this year alone has only made it more critical for The Women’s Fund to analyze the role systemic racism has played in the lives of women and girls. Throughout the report, we have provided historical and social context to provide examples of systemic factors that have influenced the data in the report, knowing that there are historic and current policies and practices that have intentionally and unintentionally harmed people of color and women throughout our country’s history. Examples of these policies include the National Recovery Act of 1932 that forbade more than one family member to have a government job, resulting in many women losing their jobs, and the government-backed redlining in the 1930s that prevented people of color from purchasing homes in certain neighborhoods. These policies and practices, along with countless others, have prevented women from having access to the same economic opportunities as men and presented impenetrable barriers for people of color to be able to build wealth at the same rate as their White counterparts.

The repeated racial injustices we have seen in this year alone has only made it more critical for The Women's Fund to analyze the role systemic racism has played in the lives of women and girls.

Acknowledging that our country’s policies and practices have negatively impacted women and people of color adds a fundamental element to the story told by the data in this report. These outcomes are not due to the fault of an individual woman, nor did they happen by chance. Providing this context increases awareness and understanding as to why women overall have consistently higher rates of poverty than men and why Black and Brown women in our community are experiencing higher rates of poverty and income insufficiency compared to White women.

As a Women’s Fund, we have focused our grantmaking on programs that provide tools and resources for women and girls in our community to become financially secure, remove barriers to opportunities often taken advantage of by boys and men, and create social change around the issues affecting women and girls. We continue to believe that collectively investing in women and girls in this way is critical to ensuring all women and girls in our community thrive. We also continue to recognize that advocating for policies and practices that intentionally benefit women, especially women of color who are faced with both gender and race inequities, is key to fulfilling our mission to build economic security for women and girls in Forsyth County.  

People ultimately create policies and practices. This means we all have the power to influence the creation of policies and practices that positively impact women, as well as the power to challenge those that do not.

People ultimately create policies and practices. This means we all have the power to influence the creation of policies and practices that positively impact women, as well as the power to challenge those that do not. This report was designed to provide the data our community needs to encourage difficult yet necessary conversations about gender and race equity and to motivate readers to advocate for policies that will address many of the issues which are negatively affecting women and girls in our community. We hope you will share this microsite with your friends, family, and coworkers and engage in conversations around what you have learned and the actions you plan to take as a result. We as a Fund are committed to doing the same and will be hosting several virtual dialogues about the report throughout 2021. We look forward to engaging with you and invite you to join our efforts as a Fund to positively impact the lives of the women and girls in our community.   

Gender Lens 2020 Research Topics

To navigate the research topics contained in this microsite, use the links in this section or click the research topics dropdown menu at the top of the page.
Key Finding
Adult females have consistently higher rates of poverty than adult males.
On average from 2014-2018, an estimated 16% of adult females experienced poverty compared to approximately 13% of adult males. During that same time period, about 29% of female children and 26% of male children experienced poverty, but this difference is within the margin of error for these estimates.
Key Finding
Regardless of sex, Black and Latinx residents have higher rates of poverty than White residents.
Key Finding
From 2014 to 2018, the median income for adult females working full time was 89% of that of adult males.
The median income for White females working full time was 82% of the median income for White males, but the median income of Black and Latina females working full time was 60% and 44% of the median income of White males, respectively.
Key Finding
As education level increases, the disparity between male and female median incomes generally increases as well.
The median income for males with more than a bachelor’s degree being almost twice that of females with the same level of education.
Key Finding
Placing one child in an average-cost child care facility would require roughly 25%-30% of the median household income for female-headed households.
Equivalent childcare would require roughly 10%-12% of the median household income for married couple households; this expense could pose a significant cost burden or barrier to employment for some families. 
Key Finding
Females have significantly higher high school graduation rates than males and also generally have higher levels of education. 
Despite this, males are more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees than females in several fields associated with high-earning occupational categories like architecture and engineering.
Key Finding
Adult females have consistently higher rates of poverty than adult males.
On average from 2014-2018, an estimated 16% of adult females experienced poverty compared to approximately 13% of adult males. During that same time period, about 29% of female children and 26% of male children experienced poverty, but this difference is within the margin of error for these estimates.
Key Finding
Adult females have consistently higher rates of poverty than adult males.
Key Finding
From 2014 to 2018, the median income for adult females working full time was 89% of that of adult males.
On average from 2014-2018, an estimated 16% of adult females experienced poverty compared to approximately 13% of adult males. During that same time period, about 29% of female children and 26% of male children experienced poverty, but this difference is within the margin of error for these estimates.
Key Finding
As education level increases, the disparity between male and female median incomes generally increases as well.
The median income for males with more than a bachelor’s degree being almost twice that of females with the same level of education.
Key Finding
Placing one child in an average-cost child care facility would require roughly 25%-30% of the median household income for female-headed households.
Equivalent childcare would require roughly 10%-12% of the median household income for married couple households; this expense could pose a significant cost burden or barrier to employment for some families.
Key Finding
Females have significantly higher high school graduation rates than males and also generally have higher levels of education.
Despite this, males are more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees than females in several fields associated with high-earning occupational categories like architecture and engineering.

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Methodology and Data Notes

Why Providing Historical and Structural Context is Important

This report reflects the economic progress made and that is still needed for women and girls in Forsyth County. Across the range of indicators presented in this report, we find that females face significant economic and social challenges in achieving parity with their male counterparts, with few exceptions. These challenges are even greater for women of color. 

This report contextualizes some of these challenges by exploring historical perspectives and identifying structural factors that contribute to economic disparities by race and ethnicity. The Women’s Fund believes this context is critical, acknowledging that an individual’s life is affected by the social context in which they exist, and by the policies, practices, and other factors that are beyond  their control. It is critical to build a stronger understanding of the disparities faced by women and their causes in order to move towards a society that is more equitable among all women and men.

General Methodology

The Research, Education, and Advocacy committee of The Women’s Fund identified a set of local indicators of the economic security of women and girls in Forsyth County. Forsyth Futures’ analysts studied existing datasets to better understand the status of the economic security of women and girls in Forsyth County over time and across demographic groups. In most cases, analysts ran statistical tests to ensure that observed differences between groups or over time were not due to margins of error for the data and not likely the result of random chance.  See data notes on individual measures for more information on this issue.

All margins of error presented represent the range that analysts are 95% sure that the true numbers for the population fall within and analysts are at least 95% confident that noted differences are large enough to not be a result of random chance.  

If you have questions about the measures or methodology used in this report, please contact info@forsythfutures.org.

COVID-19 Post Note

Most data used in this report was gathered before the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The impact of COVID-19 on local economic conditions means that some of the specific measures in this report have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Analysts have noted measures that are particularly susceptible to the impacts of the pandemic. It is important to note that many experts anticipate that the pandemic will have disproportionate economic impacts on women [1][2] and Black and Brown residents [1][3][4]. It may take some time before local data sources are updated to reflect current conditions. In the meantime, the following resources can help provide alternative estimates and analysis of how economic conditions are changing (listed in alphabetical order):

Sex and Gender Note

The term “sex” is generally used to describe a person’s sex assigned at birth, and the term “gender” is typically used to describe a person’s identity [5][6]. A person’s sex and gender identity are not always the same [6]. To communicate as accurately as possible about the data analyzed and avoid making assumptions that residents’ sex and gender identities always correspond, this report uses whichever terms the original data source used, using “male” and “female” to describe sex and “women,” “men,” or “transgender” to describe gender. Most notably, the American Community Survey, which provided the majority of the data used in this report, specifically asks respondents about their biological sex, not their gender [6].

Race and Ethnicity Note

Whenever possible, this report includes indicators disaggregated by race and ethnicity. Most of the data in the report comes from the American Community Survey and data collected on race and ethnicity are based on self-identification [7]. This reflects a social definition of race. Due to the racial and ethnic composition of Forsyth County and the sample sizes needed for reliable data analysis, our racial/ethnic breakdowns of the data are for White, Black, and Latinx residents. Latinx is an ethnic category and represents respondents that identify as being of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. Latinx respondents can either identify as White, Black, or as other racial categories including more than one race category. Except for the data reported for residents experiencing homelessness in the community, findings discussed for White and Black respondents represent non-Latinx respondents. We use the term Latinx as a gender-neutral term when discussing both females and males. We also use Latino when explicitly discussing findings for males or men and Latina when referring to females or women.

References

  1. Forsyth Futures. (2020) Community Briefing: The Local Impact of COVID-19. https://www.forsythfutures.org/covid-19/#open
  2. Simon, M. (2020, March 19). Women and the hidden burden of the coronavirus. The Hill. https://thehill.com/changing-america/respect/equality/488509-the-hidden-burden-of-the-coronavirus-on-women
  3. Gould, E. & Wilson, V. (2020, June 1). Black workers face two of the most lethal preexisting conditions for coronavirus- racism and economic inequality. The Economic Policy Institute. epi.org/publication/black-workers-covid/
  4. Artiga, S., Garfield, R. & Orgera, K. (7, April 2020). Communities of color at higher risk of health and economic challenges due to COVID-19. Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/issue-brief/communities-of-color-at-higher-risk-for-health-and-economic-challenges-due-to-covid-19/?utm_campaign=KFF-2020-Uninsured&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=2&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_UqLIoowVMibewUsBF8kGfwkh4ndUc-Ng7RZ8if---KZNFdsVsWt8UG2un7FH2DxliVe3nEefuXSQR1155GRcIUWd7mg&_hsmi
  5. Planned Parenthood (n.d.). Sex and Gender Identity. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/gender-identity/sex-gender-identity
  6. United States Census Bureau. (n.d.) Glossary: Gender. https://www.census.gov/glossary/#term_Gender
  7. United States Census Bureau. (21, April 2020). About. https://www.census.gov/topics/population/race/about.html.