Although the gender wage gap in Iowa is smaller than the national average, a new report from a liberal advocacy group gives the state a D+ in economic security for women and an overall grade of C+.
The “State of Women” report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which works to turn progressive ideas into policy, looked at how women are faring in economic security, health and in leadership.
Progress Iowa, cited the report as the latest example of Gov. Terry Branstad’s “failed leadership for Iowa’s women and working families.”
“The governor continues to ignore the reality of everyday Iowans and Iowa women who are being left behind by his policies that focus only the wealthiest among us,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa.
The reality, according to Tim Albrecht of the Governor’s Office, is that the Branstad administration has a number of women in prominent roles, including his lieutenant governor, economic development director and director of workforce development.
Such “desperate, made-up, juvenile attacks” should be expected from Progress Iowa and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which Albrecht called “nothing more than a liberal, partisan hack group throwing everything it can at Terry Branstad because they know his superior record of job creation and fiscal management is unmatched.”
His campaign spokesman, Jimmy Center, took a similar tone, pointing out that since Branstad took office in 2011 more Iowans are employed than ever, Iowa has attracted nearly $8 billion worth of private capital investment to create jobs and the unemployment rate is the eight-lowest in the nation,
“Iowans won’t be fooled by this liberal, ambiguously-named, out-of-state group’s attempt to distract them from the governor and lieutenant governor’s impressive economic successes,” Center said.
Beyond the name-calling, Sinovic said, the data shows “inequality in Iowa is growing and we’re ranked dead last in women-owned businesses.”
The report found Iowa women make 78 cents for every $1 a man makes – a cent higher than the national average, but less than women in 21 states.
According to the Census Bureau, the gender pay gap has remained constant for nearly a decade.
Iowa also ranked 21st in the percentage of managerial jobs held by women – 33 percent, which is less than the 38 percent national average, according to the report. It found Iowa ranks 49th for growth in the number of women-owned businesses. In Iowa, women own 23 percent of businesses. Nationally, they own 29 percent of businesses, according to the Census Bureau.
Iowa also ranked 22nd and earned a C+ for women’s health, the center said. The ranking was based on several factors including infant and maternal mortality rates, the number of women per OB/GYN doctors, abortion regulations and public funding for abortion and contraception.