Women's Workforce Participation Rate Low In Arizona

By Kaitlin Stein
Published: Monday, September 8, 2014 - 6:05am

A recent analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows Arizona has one of the lowest rates of employed women in the country.

When it comes to the gender gap in pay, nationwide women make just 81 percent of salaries earned by men in equal positions. Arizona is doing better than that average at 87 percent. 

But when comparing rates of women in the workforce, Arizona is in the bottom five with only 55 percent of women employed, below the national average of 58 percent.  Only 37 percent of employed women in Arizona are in managerial or professional positions.

“Well, we don’t know exactly why the numbers are so low. It may be a couple of different factors in Arizona. One could be the fact that the share of the population age 65 and older is a little bit higher than in most other states and a little bit higher than the nation overall," said Cynthia Hess of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

"It could also be related to the fact that some of the work performed in the informal economy may not be fully captured in the census data that we use,” Hess said. The informal economy she referred to includes jobs that are not taxed, or are cash-only.

The number of women in Arizona’s labor force has dropped since 2006, from 57 percent to 55 percent. Only Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia trail behind Arizona, with Washington DC sitting at number one with 67 percent of women employed.