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Guest Report - Gender Inequity A Risk Factor For Domestic Abuse

I'm Orlaine Gabert, Older Adult Advocate for HELP of Door County. One of my focuses has been on the prevention of domestic abuse. First, risk factors are indentified. Secondly, strategies are developed to either eliminate or reduce the risk. Lastly, those strategies are implemented.

One risk factor is gender inequity. For employment this means for women that they are paid less than men. The Institute for Women's Policy Research from 1996 to 2004 has provided reports on the status of women in all 50 states. The 2002 Status of Women in Wisconsin was published in 2004. The wage ratio for women to men is 71 cents for full-time full year work. I was shocked to learn that Wisconsin's ranking is 45th among the 50 states on this indicator. Another consideration is to compare the wage ratio to only white male full-time full year work with women of color which reduces the wage ratio. For white women the ratio is 68 cents, for African Americans 63 cents, for Asian and Native Americans 60 cents, and for Hispanics 59 cents. The overall ratio is higher because men of color do earn less than white males. Also this does not include men and women who work less than full-time or seasonal of which women are a higher percentage. This would further reduce the ratio for women and women of color. Door County does have a high number of seasonal workers.

This wage ratio often makes it impossible for a woman to leave a domestic abuse situation. She cannot support herself or herself and her children. She has to stay. Strategies to address this risk factor are access to affordable education and housing and jobs with livable wage.


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