MIAMI, Fla. – Progress on gender equality remains stagnant, according to a new report on the status of women in Miami-Dade County.
“Gender differences persist in most areas of social and economic life,” the authors said, adding that the new data and analysis underscores that “progress on gender equality needs to be accelerated, and concerted efforts to be made to address the persistent gaps.”
Typical of the inequities cited are that men in the county earned more than women at all levels of education. The largest gap was between women with less than a high school diploma, with men earning a median of $24,858 compared to women earning $17,098. A close second, however, was the 29.8 percent gap between men and women with graduate or professional degrees, with men earning a median of $72,300 and women earning $50,763.
The “2019 Report on the Status of Women in Miami-Dade,” is geared to shed light on areas in which women and girls are succeeding or struggling, including in economic opportunity, education and health.
Released by County Commission Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson and Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, during a March 19 news conference at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, the report is a result of legislation sponsored by Cava. The commission in 2015 adopted the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The ordinance requires a report to be produced each year providing a benchmark for measuring gender equity in the county.
The third annual study, authored by Dr. Maria Ilcheva of the Florida International University Metropolitan Center, was financed and prepared for the commission and Commission Auditor’s Office.
The report found that women “continue to be the majority in sales, office, and service occupations, which are typically low salaried.”
Moreover, women “are also the majority in education, legal, community service, arts, and media (63.8 percent) and the healthcare practitioner and technical (66.5 percent) occupations,” the report said. “The smallest representation of women was in computer, engineering, and science (24.5 percent), which is a high-wage, high-skill occupation category.”
The report by the subject matter experts was “substantially less detailed in scope” than an actual audit, the authors noted, but contained sufficient evidence to provide reasonable basis for its findings and conclusions. Those included that the persistent disparities outlined in the report provide evidence and impetus for action to address them, the authors said.
“There is much work to be done to reduce disparity, which requires intentional changes in policies and practices from the private, nonprofit and government sectors,” the report said. “None of these groups can tackle inequality on its own. The report’s intent is to continue to shed light on current conditions and to make the case for why action is needed.”
Recommendations proposing specific actions from the Miami-Dade Commission for Women, an advisory and advocacy board for the county commissioners, county administration and public at large on issues pertaining to the status of women, are the next important step in that direction, the authors said.