Gov. Neil Abercrombie today highlighted a recent report by the nonpartisan Center for American Progress that ranked the State of Hawaii as No. 2 among states in the progress made for women.
The report, titled The State of Women in America: A 50-State Analysis of How Women Are Faring Across the Nation, ranks each state based on 36 factors in the categories of economics, leadership and health, as well as an overall national ranking. Hawaii also received an overall grade of "A."
"The Aloha State has benefited from the strong leadership of women at every level including government," Gov. Abercrombie said. "Hawaii's own Congresswoman Patsy Mink championed Title IX legislation that transformed the way our entire nation addresses equality in education, which was a catalyst for ensuring further equity throughout our society."
That legacy is continued by this administration, in which more than half of the appointed Cabinet and staff positions are held by women.
"Since this report was conducted, additional progress has been achieved this year," Gov. Abercrombie added. "In collaboration with the Hawaii Women's Legislative Caucus and Commission on the Status of Women, we are addressing a wide variety of issues including early childhood education, protections for domestic workers, human trafficking, and recognition of the societal and health benefits of breastfeeding. These advancements are the result of the community investing in our future by getting involved in state government to protect the rights and well-being of women."
Catherine Betts, executive director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, is hopeful following the findings of this report: "This comes after years of advocacy from our women's community and leadership in government that recognize the worth of Hawaii's women and girls. Our women's health community has been especially active in safeguarding our access to reproductive health care and ensuring our constitutionally protected rights remain intact. It is also timely to see how women fare in terms of paid family leave and an increase in the minimum wage -- two policies that the commission is actively seeking to change."
In Hawaii, 61 percent of our full-time minimum wage workers are women, and many of our women juggle the duties of full-time work and full-time caretaking, while struggling to feed their families and make ends meet. Gov. Abercrombie acknowledges that this study serves as a reminder that while Hawaii is doing well for our women and girls, there is always room for progress.
"I am confident that our ranking will improve," Gov. Abercrombie said. "We will continue to pursue transformative initiatives, ranging from early education to minimum wage, to benefit the people of Hawaii."