- Washington Area Women's Foundation data illustrates a growing divide among D.C.'s women and girls.
This morning, the Washington Area Women's Foundation released "The Portrait Project 2010," a new report on the state of women and girls in the Washington metro area. The foundation released its first Portrait Project seven years ago; in many ways, local women are worse off today.
"The recession has taken a toll," WAWF president Nicola Goren said in a press conference this morning. "Although overall unemployment rates are lower in this area, and some of the most well-educated and highly-paid people in the country live here, we are seeing a widening divide between those who have found success and those who are struggling," Goren said.
"The Washington Metro Area continues to be a region divided," WAWF vice president of programs Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat added. WAWF's Portrait Project, completed in partnership with the Institute for Women's Policy Research and the Urban Institute, illustrates that divide. The project assessed the status of local women in seven categories: economic security and poverty; education, training, employment, and earnings; work supports; housing; health and well-being; violence and safety; and leadership and philanthropy. And "women of color still bear the burden of poverty and fare more poorly across every indicator," Lockwood-Shabat said. “We're seeing a growing number of impoverished and undereducated women in the area. We need to bridge this divide." Lockwood-Shabat also stressed the need for "better data" to learn more about the challenges facing immigrant women and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women in the Washington area.
At the press conference, WAWF program officer Gwen Rubinstein laid out the most pressing figures:
* Thirteen percent of black women and 14 percent of Latinas in the region are living below the poverty line. In D.C. alone, the poverty rate for black women is 25 percent. The poverty rate increased by 16 percent between 2008 and 2009.
* One-fifth of female headed households with children in the area are poor. In D.C., 37 percent of those families are poor.
* In the Washington area, four out of 10 black women and six out of ten Latina women have only a high school diploma or less.
* The AIDS case rate for women in D.C. is 90 per 100,000 women. That's 12 times the national rate for women. For African-American women in D.C., the AIDS case rate is 176 per 100,000 women.
* Local governments still lack parity in gender representation. The DC council is only 22 percent female; Alexandria has 29 percent female reps; Montgomery County and Prince George's County are higher at 44 percent but still lack parity.
View the full report here: