Women’s Income Disparity Article in Local News

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OAKLAND — Women earn “significantly” less money than men in Garrett County, according to Dr. B.J. Gallagher, chair of the Garrett County Commission for Women.

“Looking at the median earnings comparisons, it is significantly less in all areas for females, compared to males,” she told the Garrett County commissioners during the GCCW’s annual report last week.

Appointed by the commissioners, GCCW’s mission is to promote a positive image of women, advise county government, advance solutions and serve as a countywide resource to promote social, political and economic equality for women.

Gallagher said her group is monitoring statistics that deal with the county’s female population.

Based on U.S. Census Bureau information, the overall annual median earning for women age 25 and older is $24,515. It’s $35,798 for men. In the category “less than high school graduate,” women make $13,889, compared to $25,262 for men. The average income for a woman with graduate and professional degrees is $48,417, while a man’s is $62,019.

“When you look at economic development and those kinds of ideas, that’s something that we would like you to keep in mind,” Gallagher told the commissioners.

She noted that women and girls make up 50.5 percent of Garrett County’s population, and 52 percent of the county’s workforce is women.

Other recent data presented include:

• 36.7 percent of the births in 2016 were to women living below the poverty level.

• 63.6 percent of children live with families where all parents work.

• 448 grandparents live with grandchildren who are under age 18.

• 84.5 percent of those served by the Dove Center are women and girls (fiscal years 2013-17).

“We’re hoping to keep all of these statistics up to date as we move forward,” Gallagher said. “We’ll present them to you annually, as well.”

She also reported that the GCCW’s recent Voices of Women Listening Tour included discussions about human trafficking in Maryland.

“In 2016, an agency report looked at the fact that the numbers are really increasing,” Gallagher said, noting that interstates 270, 70 and 95 play key roles in the trafficking of women and children.

She pointed out that Hagerstown seems to be Maryland’s current “hot spot” for the crime.

“But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to shift,” Gallagher said. “Anytime you have heavy truck traffic, which we do on I-68, there’s always (that) potential.”

The chairwoman indicated she wanted to make sure the commissioners were aware of the issue because of Washington County’s proximity to Garrett County.

Gallagher thanked the commissioners for increasing GCCW’s funding. They allocated $4,000 this fiscal year. In FY 2018, the amount was $3,500. The previous year’s allocation was $3,000.

“We’ll be able to actually give more scholarships this go-round,” Gallagher said.

Each year the organization provides up to five $500 scholarships to Garrett County women age 20 and over. The new Maureen R. Sharps Scholarship awards $5,000 to one local woman. The recipients are usually announced at the GCCW’s annual Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with the next one scheduled for May 4.

A new award will be presented during the event.

“It’s going to be for the Garrett County Woman of Tomorrow,” Gallagher said. “So we’re looking at youngsters anywhere from grades seven through 12 who exemplify community service. So, that’s something on the horizon.

“Thank you for what you’re doing and keep up the good work,” Commissioner Paul Edwards told her.

For more information, visit gccw.info.

Staff writer Renée Shreve can be reached at 301-501-8394 or by email at rshreve@therepublicannews.com.

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