Study finds little progress in gender equality in Minnesota

By KBJR News 1

June 4, 2014 Updated Jun 4, 2014 at 9:42 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- The 20-14 Road To Equality Tour kicked off in Duluth providing research on the status of Women and Girls in Minnesota when it comes to economics, safety, health and leadership. What the study revealed was a lack of progress.

"What we're seeing in terms of trends since the last time we produced the research two years ago is that women and girls are really stalled in terms of equality in Minnesota," said Mary Beth Hanson, Director of Communications for the Minnesota Women's Foundation.

The study saw two top competing trends...one that women's earnings are important to families and two, that there is still a 20 percent gap between men's and women's salaries

"If we see that women's wages are increasingly important to families, that fact that they are earning less, has an impact not only on women but in families in the state," said Debra Fitzpatrick, Director at the University of MN Humphrey School's Center on Women & Public Policy.

Perhaps most startling is 684-thousand women have fallen victim to sexual and domestic violence...enough to fill Target Field 17 times.

"that's just a tragedy, a statewide tragedy that we've seemed to just accepted as a given," said Fitzpatrick.

One in four college women report being victims of sexual violence.
In light of this report, action is being taken on Capitol Hill to allocate money from "title nine" funds to fight against campus sexual assaults.

"I think that it is good news that the federal government has really stepped up to say that this is unacceptable and is really sort of using title nine as a tool to get universities across the country to take the issue seriously," said Fitzpatrick.

Experts say that a step in the right direction with many other steps that need to be taken to achieve gender equality.

"We hope to see our pathways to prosperity that are built and cemented for Minnesota women and girls because they impact everybody, they impact boys in the family, men in the family, and that strengthens communities in the entire state," said Hanson.

The "Road to Equality Tour" will head to Grand Rapids next and four other cities before wrapping up in Moorhead

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@Kbjr.com