Economy Insights

Hastings YWCA Provides A Step Up

Charming girl sitting by wooden table and reading book
Laura Stutte
Written by Laura Stutte

In Nebraska, a higher percentage of women have bachelor’s degrees and work in management positions than ever before, but the gender wage gap in our state has grown. Approximately 31 percent of women in our state have a bachelor’s degree or higher, an increase of 8 percent since 2000 and ranked 19th in the nation.

Women in Nebraska make $0.73 for every dollar compared to men in the same positions, according to the Status of Women in the States by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Out of all employed women, Nebraska has 38.7 percent in management or professional roles, making you wonder why the gender wage gap continues to be an issue. It’s hard to understand why gender should ever be a deciding factor in a salary. On average, women have gained $0.38 per year since the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963. At this rate, it may be another 40 years before we catch up with men, Nebraskan women not seeing equal pay until 2066.

The state legislature is comprised of only 20.4 percent women. In order to make a difference not only in our community, but our state, we need to encourage more women to take a role in politics and policy and advocate for women in Nebraska. Look here for more information on women in politics.

With the number of women who are seeking higher education, you can understand how it will take longer for those who owe debt to pay it off after graduation compared to men. According to AAUW, women who graduated in 2008 owed $3,300 more in student loans in 2012 than men. In those four years, men were able to pay off 44 percent of their original student loan while women only 33 percent.

Today there are more mothers who are the sole or primary providers for their family compared to 50 years ago, so you can understand how this can affect children as well.

With the Affordable Healthcare Act, women are supposed to have better coverage, including maternity; however, rates are higher for those who already had coverage prior to the new policies. Previously, women had to pay more for the same coverage as men, without including maternity care. Today, women continue to pay more for the extended coverage. The difference being you cannot be denied coverage or dropped.

To help with wage disparities, women can look to nonprofits for assistance. The YWCA is empowering women of every age. For women looking for employment, we offer a career closet, resume writing, and other educational programs for every age. Annually, we recognize outstanding women in our community with the Tribute to Women award. These women consist of high school through retired women that go above and beyond in Hastings and are nominated by their peers for their efforts. Visit our website to learn more about what we offer, ywcaadamscounty.org.

About the author

Laura Stutte

Laura Stutte

Executive Assistant
Laura is the Executive Assistant at YWCA Adams County. She has lived in Nebraska for five years. She enjoys working in the non-profit sector as well as volunteering for other organizations in the community.