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4:35 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

New Report on the Status of Women in Alaska

A new report on the status of women in Alaska features some alarming data, including that nearly 60 percent of all women in Alaska have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence.

The new report was prepared by the Legislative Research Service at the request of Senator Lesil McGuire, who says some of the numbers in the report are shocking and disturbing. Currently the 346.8-thousand women in Alaska make up 48-percent of the state's population. The new report shows that in 2011 women in Alaska earned 77-cents for each dollar a man earned and women still earn less than men in all industries. The highest paying occupations for women in Alaska are physicians and surgeons, where the average women earned $166.4-thousand dollars a year in 2010. Men in the same professions earned on average $229.3-thousand dollars a year.

The new report also looks at women and crime in Alaska. In 2011 just over 500 women were imprisoned in Alaska, which equals out to about 11 percent of the inmate population. That's up from the 7-percent recorded back in 2002. Apparently 53 percent of the women prisoners are white and 33-percent are Alaska Native. There is some apparent good news for women in the data related to recidivism. For instance, a study by the Alaska Judicial Council of recidivism in 2008 and 2009 showed that within one year just 19-percent of women were rearrested. That's well below the 30 percent of men rearrested.

Regarding health care the new report shows that about 21-percent of women in Alaska between the ages of 19 to 64 are uninsured and 13-percent of children in Alaska are uninsured. The report shows that in Alaska, 23.7-percent of Alaskan women report being diagnosed with a depressive disorder and in 2011 32.8-percent of women in Alaska's high schools reported depressive symptoms. One of the most disturbing facts in the new report is that the suicide rate for women in Alaska is twice as high as the suicide rate nationally.     Apparently in 2011 close to 10 percent of Alaska girls in high school attempted suicide. That translates to just over 1.9-thousand girls. The report indicates that over 34.4-thousand Alaskan women abuse alcohol each month an in fiscal year 2012 just over 3.1-thousand women and children stayed in domestic violence facilities in Alaska. Over 1.3-thousand were under the age of 18. The new report on the status of women in Alaska can be found on the website of the Alaska Senate Majority Organization at alaskasenate.org.