Women compose half of the work force, and families depend on women’s income more than ever before. Mothers are breadwinners or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of American families. And yet, despite dramatic increases in work experience and educational attainment, women are typically paid less than their male counterparts and have fewer opportunities to advance in their careers. They are more likely to go without the health care they need, and to live in poverty. Women are profoundly overrepresented in the low-wage workforce regardless of their education level, age, marital or parental status, race, ethnicity, or national origin.
The facts are astounding:
- Women account for nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers.
- Women continue to earn less than men. Women make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. A pay gap exists even in the first year out of college and continues throughout a woman’s life.
- The poverty rate — 14.5 percent for women — remains the highest in two decades.
- Women-owned businesses continue to lag behind men-owned businesses. The average revenue of women-owned businesses is only 27 percent of the average revenue of men-owned businesses.
The challenges of unequal pay and low wages many women face, compounded by the additional responsibilities mothers often bear, can affect health outcomes for them and their families.
UPMC Health Plan recognizes that when women succeed, their families and the economy prosper. That’s why we are committed to economic development, support, and opportunities aimed at women.
Congratulations to Diane Holder, executive vice president and president of the UPMC Insurance Services Division, and president and CEO of UPMC Health Plan. Ms. Holder is the winner of the 2014 Athena Award. Athena awards recognize exceptional women who demonstrate excellence in their profession, contribute to their community, and help other women to succeed through mentorship.