Count Her In report shows status of women in Oregon


Count Her In report shows status of women in Oregon

4:59 p.m. PDT September 21, 2016

Oregon women contribute more but get less for it than women in other states, according to a new report.

The Women’s Foundation of Oregon released its “Count Her In” report this week. The report addressed “eight things to celebrate” and “eight issues that can’t wait” when it comes to the status of women and girls in the state.

The report found Oregon women:

  • Vote at higher rates than Oregon men and than women in most other states
  • Serve in the military and in statewide elected office at some of the highest rates in the country
  • Meet the state’s 2025 goal for college graduation rates, 11 years ahead of schedule
  • Give money and time to charities at higher rates than Oregon men and women in most other states
  • Commit less than 5 percent of the violent crimes in Oregon.

On the flip side, there are issues. According to the report, among Oregon women:

  • Endured domestic or sexual violence (more than half the women and girls)
  • Have nation’s highest rates of depression and alcohol use
  • Earn between 53 and 83 cents for every dollar earned by their white, male counterparts (depending on race or ethnicity)
  • Lead only one of Oregon’s 39 publicly traded companies as CEO.

“They are giving a ton, but they are experiencing some of the most gender inequality in the country,” said Emily Evans, executive director of Women’s Foundation of Oregon. “Women and girls are showing up for Oregon; it’s time Oregon shows up for women and girls.”

The report comes at the end of 20 year ‘data drought,’ during which no comparable report was made.

Evans said the report is “sobering”, but it is “not without optimism.”

The report was presented to the public on the Capitol steps Wednesday.

Evans called the report “an irrefutable imperative for change.”

She said if you only read one page from the report, read page 3 to learn about the eight issues that can’t wait, which are: violence against women, systemic racism, cost of care-giving, barriers to reproductive health, wage and wealth gap, economic fragility, mental health, and public/private glass ceiling.

Evans said it’s important to understand how the eight issues connect.

“We can’t slice off and address these issues individually,” she said. “The more we pull them apart, the more they come together.”

Governor Kate Brown spoke at the event at the Capitol, and said the information in the report is “pivotal (for) the future of the state of Oregon.”

She quoted Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie when she said, “We (as a society) have evolved, but our ideas of gender have not evolved very much.”

As women make up more than half of the state’s population, Brown said, the report should serve as a call to action for Oregonians, “regardless of gender, race, zip code, or political party, to work together on solutions that will benefit women and girls and make Oregon a home where each person can thrive.”

For more information, and to read the full report, go to or call 971-230-1294.

Contact Natalie Pate at, 503-399-6745, or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate, on Facebook at or on the Web at

By the numbers

  • Female full-time workers make 21 percent less than men, or 79 cents for every dollar (varies by race)
  • 41 percent of female-headed families with children are in poverty
  • One third of Oregon’s single, working mothers and their children live below the poverty line
  • 44 percent of Oregon households receiving federal food assistance are headed by women
  • At some point in her life, one in four women is abused by an intimate partner
  • More than 27 percent of Oregon’s female population are victims, survivors of rape at least once in their lives

Data for each of the eight key issues is available in the report. A county-by-county breakdown begins on page 89.

Five things to do

Interested in making a difference after reading the report?

The report suggests:

Five things every Oregonian can do to help: 

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Donate
  • Share
  • Recognize

Five things Oregon leaders can do:

  • Demand better data
  • Make decisions with a “gender lens”
  • Fund gender-specific programs and services
  • Embrace “intersectionality”
  • Find common ground

See page 8 of the report for more detail.

Published by Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is a freelance journalist and author based in Salem, Oregon. She wrote about education for more than seven years at the Statesman Journal and now covers education and other topics throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is originally from Colorado and earned her B.A. in Politics and French from Willamette University.

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