Posted: Mar 8, 2013 8:04 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - According to a recently released report, women continue to make less money than men.
As part of International Women's Day, the Women's Foundation of Montana released an annual report detailing the Status of Women in Montana.
Jan Euell of the Women's Foundation says Montana women's earnings are the fourth-lowest in the nation.
"Women in Montana make $0.74 to a man's $1.00. Which, while it doesn't sound great, it is better than it was a few years ago," Euell says.
Women make up 47% of the workforce in Montana but on average they are paid $10,000 less.
The lower wages mean more women are living in poverty and therefore have less access to healthcare.
However, the picture isn't just a dismal one.
"Montana women are educated, Montana women vote. Montana women vote at a higher rate than most other states. And Montana women lead," Euell says.
Montana women get bachelor's degrees at a higher rate than men do.
They also are increasingly taking leadership roles.
Billings City Councilwoman Becky Bird says one of the critical items for those with lower incomes are two federal tax credits: the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.
"Those programs helped me when I went back to school at age 25 to get an education," Bird said. "For me that was the ticket to get out of low wage jobs and pull my family out of poverty."
Bird also says safety net programs like Medicaid are critical because they provide low-income families with the healthcare they need.
Nationwide, women earn about 77 cents to every man's dollar.