The “Status of Women in North Carolina,” a report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and sponsored by the North Carolina Council for Women, illustrates the progress North Carolina has made toward gender equality—as well as the persistent obstacles to economic, social, and political advancement that women continue to face. Over the last 20 years, for instance, the share of women in the state who have completed college has almost doubled, yet men still earn more than women at every educational level and nearly one in five women in the state live in poverty.

More than four in ten working women in the state are their family’s primary breadwinner. The economic security of North Carolina’s families depends on women’s access to full and equal labor-force participation, which requires adequate work supports and social insurance as well as labor and workplace standards. Such policies can create more equitable workplaces and a thriving workforce in North Carolina.