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Study views gains, setbacks in status of S. Arizona women

More women than men are getting college degrees, but women still earn less than their male counterparts, according to a new comprehensive study by the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona.

The study was distributed Wednesday at the group’s 16th annual luncheon at the Tucson Convention Center.

The foundation created the report – using data from the 2000 census, along with 2004 and 2006 state reports – as a baseline for future reports and trends.

“We need to establish some baseline data that we can . . . compare year over year,” said Laura Penny, the foundation’s executive director. “We are very good at segregating data by age, race and ethnicity – but when you look at data by gender, it tells a very different story. We see some really stunning disparities.”

For example, in southern Arizona, the median earnings for women who work full time year-round were 73 percent to 78 percent of men’s salaries, according to 2000 data in the study.

Maura Grogan, a board chairwoman, said the report also will help the foundation make women become “economically self-sufficient.”

The study is a follow-up to its initial 2000 report. This new study concentrates on southern Arizona data and will be updated annually.

Jan Monk, member of the foundation’s advisory council, said this new report will help determine what the organization funds in the future.

Other major concerns in the report include health issues.

The leading cause of death in women ages 45 to 64 in 2006 was lung cancer in Pima and Cochise counties; in Santa Cruz County, the mortality rate is much higher with breast cancer.

“I think that reflects the fact that breast cancer is higher in Mexican-American women and also higher in Mexico so there’s some cultural and ethnic issues, but we don’t know the causes. It could also have to do with access to care,” said Monk, a professor of geography at UA.

The luncheon attracted more than 800 people and honored Helaine Levy, executive director of the Diamond Family Philanthropies.

Founded in 1992, the Women’s Foundation has invested more than $1.2 million in organizations that promote equity and opportunity for women and girls in southern Arizona.



• 55 percent of bachelor of arts degrees awarded by the University of Arizona in the 2006-07 school year were to women. This is up from 45 percent in 2000-01.

• In 2007, 1 in every 20 female students in southern Arizona high schools dropped out.

• In 2006, of the 2,669 associates degrees awarded at southern Arizona’s three colleges – Pima, Cochise and Tohono O’odham – 52 percent were awarded to females, a decrease from 57 percent in 2000.

• In 2006, 48 percent of the 4,252 certificates awarded at Pima and Cochise colleges went to females, a decrease from 67 percent in 2000.


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Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona


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