- August 25, 2016
- Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
- Staff Report
The economic status of women in Georgia is a key factor in the overall health and future of the state’s economy. Women represent a majority of Georgia’s adult population and nearly half of the workforce. In more than half of all Georgia households with children, women are primary or co-breadwinners.
Despite their importance, women face a host of barriers keeping them and Georgia’s economy, from reaching their full potential. Women working full-time in Georgia earn, on average, 70 cents for every dollar white men earn. The gender wage gap is even wider once part-time workers are taken into account.
Georgia stands to gain a lot by removing these barriers to equal earnings for working women and their families. The state’s economy could add a staggering $14.4 billion if all working women in Georgia earned the same amount of money as men living in similar population areas, of the same age, education level and working the same number of hours. Even more money could be added to Georgia’s economy if women who are now not working got more support, including child care and health care, which can allow them to rejoin the workforce or work more hours.
Increasing earnings for Georgia women can also provide a powerful boost to working families themselves. Lower earnings for Georgia women make it more likely they and their families will live in poverty, which carries a host of negative implications for the future of the state’s workforce and overall well-being. Poverty for Georgia’s working women could fall by nearly half if women earned the same amount of money as men in comparable circumstances. Lower pay also makes it harder for women to afford health care which is essential to their heath and overall well-being.
Policy interventions are collectively one of the most important tools for helping to close the gender earnings gap and boost Georgia’s economy.