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No Turning Back: The Feminist Resource Website

Data Pages

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Data topics:

Women & Work in the U.S.
Women & Domestic Violence
Women & Art
Women & Welfare
Women & Prison

Women & Work in the U.S.

Unless otherwise noted, facts in this section come from Women's Action Coalition, WAC Stats: The Facts About Women (New York: The New Press, 1993).

1999 Annual Median Earnings by all men

1999 Median Annual Earnings by all women $26,324

1999 U.S. Wage Gap


  • 37 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act, Women still get paid about 75 cents to men's dollar
  • In real terms, that means that women had to work 17 extra weeks in 2000 to earn what men earned in 1999 alone. That is why President Clinton designated May 11, 2000 Equal Pay Day.
  • And even that sad marker does not apply to all women. Black women will not reach their Equal Pay Day until July. And Hispanic women will have to wait for late October of 2000 for our Equal Pay Day.
  • While women have been entering high-paying non-traditional fields in increasing numbers, men still outnumber us by more than 2 to 1 in many high-tech occupations - occupations that pay about 80% above the average jobs.
  • And according to Catalyst, a women's advocacy group, women still make up only 11.9% of corporate officers at America's top 500 firms.
  • This is not just a "women's" issue - it affects whole families. Nearly one in five U.S. families are headed by a single woman, and more than 7 out of 10 women with children work.
  • The problem does not end when a woman stops working. The average retiring woman can expect about half the pension benefits of the average retiring man. That's if she gets a pension at all - which less than half as many women as men do.
  • The poverty rate among elderly women is about twice the rate for people over 65 generally.
-- Irasema T. Garza, U.S. Women's Bureau Director.  Speech before the National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW) 31st Annual  Convention in San Francisco, CA on July 6, 2000

Top 5 Reasons Why Retirement is a Challenge for U.S. Women Workers

  1. Nearly three out of four working women earn less than $30,000 per year.
  2. Nearly nine out of ten working women earn less than $45,000.
  3. Half of all women work in traditionally female, relatively low paid jobs without pensions.
  4. Women retirees receive only half the average pension benefits that men receive.
  5. Women's earnings average $.72 for every $1 earned by men - a lifetime loss of over $250,000.         
    --Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement

The U.S. Wage Gap Over Time

Reading the wage gap:

There are two things to notice in looking at this information. The first is the actual wage gap, the difference between men's earnings and women's earnings. The second is whether the wage gap is growing or shrinking over time, determined by the rate of increase or decrease of men's and women's earnings. Three examples will help clarify these points.

At the start of our data, the wage gap was approximately eleven thousand dollars. The bold lines shown in area 1 show the approximate change in men's and women's earnings over a period of about ten years, from the early sixties to around 1970. Although women's earnings was increasing over this period of time, men's earnings was increasing by a greater amount, shown by the difference in steepness between the two lines. This resulted in a widening of the wage gap.

From the late seventies to the late eighties, shown in area 2, the wage gap narrowed not because the women's earnings increased by a greater amount but because men's earnings decreased over this period of time. Women's earnings were actually increasing at a smaller rate than in earlier decades.

The wage gap reached its smallest amount in 1994 at around 9700 dollars at which point the decrease in men's earnings changed to an increase. Based on the amount of data that we have it appears that the wage gap is now in the process of widening again as men's earnings are increasing now at a faster rate than women's earnings. This is shown in area 3 by the projections for the next ten years shown by dotted lines.
--Chart and interpretation by Ken Carrizosa, Ph.D. cand.
*sixth order polynomial curve approximation based on data from National Committee on Pay Equity)

Women & Work --fact sheets

Unless otherwise noted, facts in this section come from Women's Action Coalition, WAC Stats: The Facts About Women (New York: The New Press, 1993).

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Women & Welfare in the U.S.


Why every woman in America should beware of welfare cuts. 

Welfare is the ultimate security policy for every woman in America. Like accident or life insurance, you hope you’ll never need it. But for yourself and your family, sisters, daughters and friends, you need to know it's there. Without it, we have no real escape from brutal relationships or any protection in a job market hostile to women with children. Why is Congress trying to take it away? 

Ten Facts most American don’t know about welfare.  

  1. Only 6% of welfare mothers are teenagers.  Less than 3% of poor families are headed by women younger than 19. 
  2. The typical welfare family includes a mother and two children, about the same as the average American family. 
  3. Welfare mothers on average receive $367 a month, even with food stamps worth $295, this is still 31% below the poverty line for a family of three.  Benefits have about about a third of their value since 1979. 
  4. Welfare to single mothers makes up just 1% of the federal budget--3% if food stamps are included, 
  5. Thirty-eight percent of AFDC parents are white, 37% are African-American, and 18% are Latino. 
  6. Over 70% of women applying for welfare receive benefits for less than two years; only 8% remain over eight years. 
  7. More than 60% of AFDC families have a child younger than six.  Forty percent have a child younger than two. 
  8. Full-time, year-round work at minimum wage puts a woman and two children $3,000 below the poverty line-with no health care coverage. 
  9. Unemployment hat steadily increased since World War II, while unemployment benefits have decreased. 
  10. Carefully conducted research has found that AFDC benefits do not influence a never-married mother's decision to have a child; nor do they influence mothers already on welfare to have additional children. 
A war against poor women is a war against all women. 
    --from a paid advertisement in the New York Times, 8/8/95.  Cosponsored by 1199 National Health & Human Service Employees Union, National Association of Social Workers, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Catholics for a Free Choice, American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, Office & Professional Employees International Union AFL-CIO, Welfare Reform Network of New York, Ms. Foundation for Women, Feminist Majority, Wider Opportunities for Women, Women & Poverty Project, Communications Workers of America, Democratic Socialists of America, Women's Actions for New Directions, National Committee on Pay Equity, United Farm workers of America AFL-CIO, Center for Women Policy Studies, National Council for Research on Women, National Jobs for All Coalition, National Coalition for the Homeless, NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund.

Welfare concerns every woman 

Welfare is a feminist issue because:
a) it concerns primarily women and children 
b) it is about the value of women’s work, about the dignity of women 
C) it says a lot about how we, as a country, care for children
d) it is not just about mothers and not just about poor people 
e) it is about women as persons  The welfare debate incorporates many dominant cultural ideas about women 

Racist stereotype: a young black woman, never-married, with six or more children. 

  1. As many white women on welfare as black (not all from poor backgrounds) 
  2. Average size of female headed family has been decreasing since the 1960s and is now at 2.9 - one woman and 1.9 children 
  3. More than 40% of welfare mothers have only ONE child 
  4. Average length of time on welfare is two years 
  5. Until recently most welfare mothers were formerly married. There has been an increase in never married. Is marriage really the answer to the problems? 
  6. AFDC is only 1% of the national budget 
  7. Welfare payments are only a fraction of the nationally established poverty level; the average payment is $367 per month. 


  1. Foster mothers are paid from 3 to 8 times what a woman is given in AFDC benefits to care for her own child.
  2. It costs taxpayers $200 per day (and anywhere from $27,000 to 75,000 per year) to keep a young criminal in jail. 
  3. It costs taxpayers anywhere from $38,000 to 60,000 per year to keep a child in an orphanage. 
Why, then, are we so unwilling to help women support their children? 
  • A major reason women resort to welfare is non-payment of child support by fathers. AFDC could be imagined as a subsidy of fathers, not a hand-out to mothers. Why isn’t it? 
  • Child care is expensive and often inadequate or non-existent. 
  • Many women want to stay home with their infants and toddlers; this option should be available to all--not just the rich with husbands to support them,. It is important for children and their mothers. Part time work options should be available along with income supplements.

--original handout by Carol Delaney,
Professor of Anthropology, Stanford

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Women & Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is defined as abuse committed against an adult or fully emancipated minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or a person with whom the suspect has had a child or has or has had a dating or engagement relationship. 

In 1990, 195,019 domestic violence cases were reported to the police in California. Of these, 7,781 were reported in Santa Clara County.  (Bureau of Criminal Statistics, Sacramento, CA, 1991.) 

Domestic violence is the most prevalent violent crime in California, with law enforcement agencies receiving 500 reports every day. Yet, even the FBI estimates these reports underesti-mate actual cases by one-tenth.  (California Alliance Against Domestic Violence, April, 1991.) 

According to the FBI, as many as 6 million women are abused by their partners each year. A woman is battered every 15 seconds.  (The California NOW Activist. November, 1991.) 

One out of every two American can women will be physically abused at some time in her relationship lifetime.  (The Battered Woman's Survival Guide, 1990.) 

Battering is the major cause of serious injury to women in America, more than auto accidents, muggings and rapes combined.  (The Lipman Report, The American Epidemic of Violence: A Major Security Concern and Public Health Care Problem, December 15, 1985.) 

Among all female victims of murders that police reported to the Uniform Crime Report in 1989, 28% were believed to have been slain by husbands or boyfriends.  (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Female Victims of Violent Crime. January, 1991.) 

Women were victims of violent intimates at a rate 3 times that of men. Women were 6 times more likely than men to be victimized by a spouse, ex-spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend.  (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Female Victims of Violence Crime. January, 1991.) 

A study by the March of Dimes reports that one of every twelve women is battered while she is pregnant. Battered women are four times more likely to have low birthweight babies and twice as likely to miscarry compared with normal mothers. (The Battered Woman's Survival Guide, 1990.)

More info: Intimate Partner Violence (by National Institute of Justice/CDC)  

Mid-Peninsula Support Network for Battered Women (San Francisco Bay Area)
(415) 940-7855 24-hr. hotline

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Women & Prison

Women in prison are:

Young: 75% are between the ages of 25 and 34
Low Income: 50% lived below the poverty line and were unemployed when arrested
Women of Color: African-American women are 8 times more likely to receive jail sentences than European-American women. In California, the state with the largest population of women in prison, 46% are African American and 30% are Latina.
Mothers: 78% are mothers of dependent children
Non Violent Offenders: 75% for non-violent offenses
Survivors of domestic or sexual abuse: Between 48% and 80% have suffered from sexual abuse or abusive intimate relationships
Victims of Substance Abuse: 90% have a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse. The main reason for the high increase in imprisonment of women is the ‘war on drugs’
Mentally ill: Due to insufficient mental health services in the community, massive incarceration of drug addicted women, the stresses of incarceration including sexual abuse by guards.

  • Approximately 138,000 women are incarcerated in US jails and prisons. The number of US women inmates has more than tripled since 1985.
  • About 40% of women in prison violated drug laws. About 25% are in prison for committing a violent crime.
  • Around 200,000 children under the age of 18 have an incarcerated mother. 80,000 women in US prisons and jails are parents, many are single parents. 1,300 babies were born to women in prison in 1997-98 and more than 2,200 pregnant women were incarcerated.
  • In 1996, only 47% of women received a medical exam to determine their health status after being admitted to prison
  • There are 138,000 women in state and federal prisons. In federal women’s correctional facilities, 70% of guards are male.
  • In 1994, the National Institute of Corrections stated that provision of gynecological services for women in prison is inadequate. Only half of the state prison systems surveyed offer female-specific services such as mammograms and Pap smears, and it is not known how long an inmate must wait to be seen.
  • The number of prisoners with histories of drug abuse is growing but the proportion of prisoners receiving treatment declined from 40% in 1991 to 18% in 1997
  • Incarcerated women in U.S. prisons often suffer punishment far in excess of their state imposed sentence. At the hands of correctional officers they face widespread sexual abuse ranging from unauthorized body frisks to rape.
  • Thirteen states offer no legal protections for women against sexual molestation and abuse: The following states have no law: Alabama; Kentucky; Minnesota; Oregon; Utah; Vermont; Wisconsin The following states have enacted laws since March 4, 1999: Massachusetts; Montana; Nebraska; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia      --Amnesty International
  • An African American woman is eight times more likely than a European American woman to be imprisoned; Latina women experience nearly four times the rates of incarceration as European American women. --National Law Journal November 2, 1998
  • From 1986 to 1996 the number of women sentenced to state prison for drug crimes increased tenfold. Nationally one in three women in prison and one in four women in jail are incarcerated for violating a drug law. --Prisoners in 1997, Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • Among those arrested for violent crimes the proportion who are African American have changed little. Among those arrested for drug offenses, the proportion who are African American has tripled. The number of women sentenced to a year or more of prison has grown twelvefold since 1970. --Atlantic Monthly, Dec. 1998.
  • Jurors in the US were polled as to what factors would make them most biased against a defendant, and perceived sexual orientation was chosen as the most likely personal characteristic to bias a juror against a defendant, three times greater than race. --National Law Journal November 2, 1998


In the past decade, the female prison population has grown by 202%, the male by 112%.[1]
  • There are 17 times more men than women in prison.[3] 
  • 73% of women in prison are under 30 years of age.[2]
  • 66% of women in prison were unemployed before incarceration.[2]
  • 92% of women in prison had less than a $10,000 yearly income.[2]
  • 58% of women in prison have less than a 12th-grade education.[2]
  • 54% of women in prison are women of color.[2]
  • Over 80% of women in prison are mothers.[2]
  • 1 in 4 women entering prison is pregnant or has recently given birth.[3]
  • The percentage of women who give birth while in prison has been estimated at 9%. However, the thousands of statistics published by the U.S. Department of Justice include no information on prison births.[9]
  • New York is the only state that allows infants to stay in a prison nursery with their mothers.[9]
  • In the U.S. there are 48,000 women in state and federal prisons and another 42,000 in city and county jails, totaling 90,000 women in prison.[8]
  • The imprisonment of women has left an estimated 167,000 children without mothers.[8]
  • Women in prisons and jails are diagnosed with HIV infection at twice the rate of their male counterparts.[10]
  • Of the women incarcerated in New York, 80% are mothers, 80% have substance abuse problems, 30% are homeless, and over 25% are HIV positive.[10]
  • Doctors are available to women in prison 2 days a week versus 5 days a week for men.[2]
  • 5-10% of women in prison have VD or gynecological problems, though there are no gynecologists available for female inmates.[2]
  • The federal prison system's only hospital for women, in Lexington, Kentucky, does not employ a full-time obstetrician-gynecologist.[3]
  • Mood-altering drugs are prescribed 2-3 times more often for women in prison than for men.[2]
  • Prison terms for killing husbands is twice as long as for killing wives.[6]
  • 60% of all women in federal prisons have been convicted of drug-related offenses. Estimates of the number that are indirectly drug related are 95%.[3]
  • 64% of women in prison are drug users, and 68% of these used drugs daily before incarceration.[2]
  • One study found that 93% of the women who had killed their mates had been battered by them; 67% indicated the homicide resulted from an attempt to protect themselves and their children.[2]
  • Of 2,589 death-row inmates in the U.S., 41 are women, and over a third of the women are lesbians.[7]
  • 10% of street gangs are girls; there are an estimated 7,000 girl gang members in the U.S.[5]

[1]  "An Unequal Justice," New York Times, July 10, 1992 
[2]  National Coalition for Jail Reform, Washington D.C. 
[3]  "Women:  The Road Ahead," Time, Special Issue, Fall 1990 
[4]  U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Statistics, 1988 
[5]  Anne Campbe3ll, "The Girl in the Gang," cited in June Stephenson, Men Are Not Cost Effective: Male Crime in America, Diemer Smith Publishing, 1991 
[6]  "20/20," ABC-TV, August 4, 1992 
[7]  "Dykes on Death Row," Village Voice, October 5, 1992 
[8]  "U.S. Prisons Challenged by women behind Bars," New York Times, November 30, 1992 
[9]  Jean Harris, "The Babies of Bedford," New York Times Magazine, March 28, 1993 
[10]  "Hoppier Home," Women's Prison Association, New York, 1992. 

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Women & Art

Logo for ladyslipper music: darkhaired woman in red dress, dancing51.2% of all artists in the U.S. are women [1]

  • 30.7% of all photographers are women [1]
  • 90% of all artist's models are women [4]
  • 67% of bachelor degrees in Fine Arts go to women [3]
  • 46% of bachelor degrees in Photography go to women [3]
  • 65% of bachelor degrees in Painting go to women [3]
  • 60% of MFAs in Fine Arts go to women [3]
  • 55% of MFAs in Painting go to women [3]
  • 47% of MFAs in Photography go to women [3]
  • 59% of Ph.D.s in Fine Arts go to women.[3]
  • 66.5% of Ph.D.s in Art History go to women.[2]
  • 59% of trained artists and art historians are women.[2]
  • 33% of art faculty are women.[2]
  • 5% of works in museums are by women.[6]
  • 17% of works in galleries are by women.[2]
  • 26% of artists reviewed in art periodicals are women.[4]
  • Women artists' income is 30% that of male artists'.[4]
  • 30% of Guggenheim grants go to women.[7]
  • 42% of $5,000 NEA grants go to women.[7]
  • 33% of $10,000 NEA grants go to women.[7]
  • 29% of $15,000 NEA grants go to women.[7]
  • 25% of $25,000 NEA grants go to women.[7]
  • Of the art commissioned by the Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program in New York City, 70% have been artists of color, 41% women, 39% of the 41% women of color.[9]
  • Of the 1992 New York Foundation for the Arts awards given, women received 53.4%, men received 46.6%.[10]
  • Of the world's top 200 collectors, approximately 128 are male, 52 are male-female couples, and 20 are female.[8]
  • 7 of 36 one-person museum exhibitions in the 1991-92 New York season were by women.[5]

    [1]  1990 Statistical Abstract of the United States. 
    [2]  Eleanor Dickenson, "Gender Discrimination in the Art World," paper prepared for the College Art Association, Coalition of Women, Februarv 15,1990, New York. 
    [3]  U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1989-90. 
    [4]  Devorab L Knoff, unpublished manuscript. 
    [5]  Art in America 1991-92. 
    [6]  Guerrilla Girls poster, New York, 1991. 
    [7]  Women's Caucus for Art, Moore College of Art Fact Sheet, citing Rosentt Browes, 1989. 
    [8]  Artnews, cover article, Januarv 1992, pp.79-91. 
    [9]  Department of Cultural Affairs, Percent for Art, 1992. 
    [10]  New York Foundation for the Arts. 1992. 

    "Anatomically correct" image of a n Oscar award with a chubby naked man (visible penis)  on pedestal

    If you can't read the small text above, here are the statistics: (top left) In 1987, 2.4% of major films were directed by women. By 1997, that number rose to a whopping 4.3%.

    (top right) In 1997, Sony, MGM/UA and Warner released no films directed by women.

    (bottom) Since 1927, two women directors have been nominated for an Oscar. Neither won. No woman of color has ever been nominated.

    Copyright 1999 Guerrilla Girls

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