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Report finds Poverty, Lack of Opportunity Plague Florida Women

Photo: Microsoft Ignite NZ

When it comes to the welfare of Florida women, the Sunshine State gets a D+.

A new report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research found more women live in poverty and without access to health insurance than elsewhere in the nation. Florida also fell behind other states when it comes to a woman's access to education and economic opportunity.

The wide-ranging report,The Status of Women in Florida by County: Poverty & Opportunity, holds grim findings for the Southwest. While roughly one in three women nationwide have a college degree, that number is closer to one in four for Southwest Florida, and as low as one in ten in Glades and Hendry counties.

The report also found more women in Florida live in poverty today than a decade ago. Florida also has the highest rate of uninsured young women in the nation, according to a measure of the percentage of non-elderly women with health insurance.

The findings also hold surprises: Hendry County leads the state when it comes to female entrepreneurs, but borders other counties (like Collier and Charlotte) that rank near the bottom when it comes to women who own their own business.

Friday at 1 p.m. on Gulf Coast Live, Brenda Tate with the Women's Foundation of Southwest Florida breaks down the report's findings for Southwest Florida, and discusses programs available to women in the state that can help them overcome the statistics.

Also joining the discussion is Julie Anderson with the Institute for Women's Policy Research, to discuss the statewide findings of the report, and how it compares to similar data gathered in 2004.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
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