Rhode Island Ranked #14 in Best States for Women
Saturday, September 28, 2013
See all the States Fared in the Grades BELOW via the interactive graph.
The rankings review three categories that are critical to women's overall well-being: economics, leadership, and health. Within each of those three categories the Center looked at 36 data points overall to come up the rankings.
Of note, Rhode Island was given an "A-" grade for leadership for women, which placed it 6th in the country for the category.
With the recent passing of Susan Farmer this week, a trailblazer in women's politics in Rhode Island as the first female elected to statewide office as Secretary of State, Rhode Island currently counts among its leadership ranks Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva-Weed.
The YWCA of Rhode Island just Thursday hosted its 2013 Women of Achievement recognition event -- where it screened a special edition of their recent "Women Holding Office: Rhode Island's Pioneers in Politics" video to remember Susan Farmer.
YWCA President and CEO Deborah Perry pointed out to GoLocal, however, that Rhode Island still had a ways to go.
"This recent reports shows that while 27.4% of our state legislature is female, only 1.6% of all elected seats are held by minority women, and we have no women in Congress," said Perry. "Politics is still mainly an "all-boys" club. It's been that way for a long time...too long."
"Rhode Island has only sent one woman to Congress, ever, and she left office in 1991," referring to Claudine Schneider, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for four terms starting in 1981.
Perry pointed to the work the YWCA is doing to help improve the number of women holding elected office in the state
"We hold our annual Women Holding Office to honor women holding elected office and to encourage others to engage in the political process, we hold trainings on how to run for office or participate in campaigns and host voter registration drives, we have partnered with Operation Clean Government and served as a member of its candidate school planning committee, and we advocate for issues that matter to women, their families and their communities."
"But we can't do it alone, we need more women walking the halls of power in order to change the status quo, in order to bring about change that is important to women and women's lives," said Perry.
GoLocal talked with Pat Paolino Cruz, who is the founder and co-publisher of Southern New England WOMAN Magaine, co-producer of the Southern New England Women's Expo, and most recently, founder and publisher of the RI Menu Guide.
"I see a lot of women that are moms, that can't get back to work because they've got kids," said Paolino Cruz. "So the biggest thing is, if you can't get back to work, what can you do?"
"A lot of women are out there are looking to start something on their own, but they're not sure how," she continued. "And a lot of them are looking to learn about social media -- how to promote their businesses for free. I get dozens of messages every day on Facebook and LinkedIn looking for advice, and how to get started."
"Some women might be hesitant because they might not have the education behind them," said Paolino Cruz. ""Women shouldn't be afraid to get out there. It's women-owned businesses who are making up a growing segment of economy."
Paolino-Cruz is one of the driving forces behind the Southern New England Women's Expo taking place Sunday, October 6 at Twin River.
"We've got three speakers who are going to be talking specifically about how to start your own business," said Paolino Cruz. "Go listen to a speaker -- it's free. You don't know what you don't know -- even if you pick up one tip. Women need that little bit of support."
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