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Outlook in Florida for women is grim, report shows

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Being a woman in Florida isn’t exactly the best thing in the world according to a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

In six separate categories the best Florida scored was a C. The Sunshine State isn’t so sun shiny for women in a state that also earned three D+ ratings, a D- and a C-.

The worst outlook for women is in work and family. The Status of Women in the States gave Florida a D- based on a lack of paid leave legislation and limited access to elder and dependent care. The data used to ultimately rank Florida 43 in the nation included numbers on other factors like the percent of women living with a disabled person, how many mothers are the breadwinner of the family, child care subsidies and the gender gap between parents in the labor force.

Florida earned a dismal D+ in employment and earnings. The data found women earn only 85 cents on the dollar compared with men in the workforce. The median income for women in Florida is $34,000 compared to the men’s median of $40,000.

Similarly, Florida received a D+ in the poverty and opportunity category based on access to health insurance, education level, self-employment and poverty statistics.

Florida got another D+ in political participation that includes how many women hold elected office in both Congress and in the Legislature.

Florida’s best ratings came in the areas of reproductive rights and health and well-being. The state received a C and C- in those areas, respectively. The data found that millennial-aged women in Florida experience depression 9.5 more days a year than their similarly aged male counterparts.

While Florida looks pretty bad on the report, it could be worse. Arkansas ranked in the bottom five in every category except two. That state received an F in employment and earnings, poverty and opportunity and political participation. They got a D- in health and well-being.

Florida doesn’t appear in the bottom five of any category.

One of the best places to live as a woman may be the District of Columbia. The nation’s capital earned top rankings in women’s employment and earnings and poverty and opportunity and a third-place ranking for work and family. However, D.C landed in the bottom five for health and well-being.

States with the most female participation in politics are New Hampshire, Minnesota, Maine, Washington and Massachusetts. However, none of those five states earned an A.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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