Report highlights continued pandemic inequalities for women throughout the state 


Almost 1,500 child care spots across the state have been eliminated since 2019, due to the closing of 42 centers that provide coverage.

If a parent can find availability in a daycare facility, the median yearly cost for an infant is $13,250, which equates to 55 percent of a single mother’s annual income.

“Child care demands and responsibilities at home during the pandemic had a disproportionately negative effect on women’s ability to stay in the workforce compared to men,” according to the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation’s latest report, The Status of Women in New Hampshire 2023.

The bi-annual report uses state and national data – from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey and Household Pulse Survey, the Behavior Risk Surveillance System and state departments and agencies – to evaluate the status of leadership, health, safety and economic opportunities for women in the Granite State.

“We believe accurate and comprehensive data must be the foundation for policies and laws that will most impact Granite State women and girls,” Tanna Clews, the chief executive officer of New Hampshire Women’s Foundation said in a statement. “In addition, education, policy, community, business and nonprofit leaders need accurate data to understand the changing demographics of their constituents and the challenges and opportunities that persist for women, girls and marginalized genders in New Hampshire.”

Research revealed the coronavirus pandemic intensified many disparities for women in regard to childcare, employee pay and benefits and the dangers of isolation and domestic violence. The Status of Women in New Hampshire emphasized the struggle many women in the Granite State have faced since 2020.

Throughout the state, women comprise 92 percent of domestic violence survivors. From the end of 2018 through 2021, the number of calls made to domestic violence hotlines increased by 15 percent, from almost 72,000 to 82,700.

The number of nights spent during a stay at a domestic violence shelter also increased. In 2020, a woman would spend 76 nights in a shelter provided by a domestic and sexual violence crisis center. In 2021, the average number of nights stayed increased to 105.

“Clearly, women’s progress in New Hampshire has been stymied by the pandemic, and the full effect of the pandemic is still unfolding, we can see this across many dimensions in this report,” said Kristin Smith, visiting research associate professor of sociology at Dartmouth College.

Progress stalled in regard to the wage gap between genders. For every dollar a man makes in New Hampshire, a woman earns 76 cents on average. Broken down by race, the disparity in earnings grows – Asian women earn 75 cents and both Black and Latina women earn 63 cents to the dollar.

The report also highlighted areas of improvement for women in the Granite State. Substance overdose deaths have decreased by 18 percent. In 2020, 102 women died from substance overdoses, which equated to 29 percent of the total deaths.

The data aggregated in the report is intended to paint a comprehensive picture of the needs of women in New Hampshire – highlighting areas of disparity and growth in many social categories.

For organizations, like the Belknap House, which is a family-shelter in Laconia, the needs highlighted in the report also provide indicators for future needs and funding.

“The Status of Women report shows that the majority of unhoused people in New Hampshire are men, however, the majority of unhoused people with children are women,” Paula Ferenc, the executive director of Belknap House, said in a statement. “This is important context as we plan to meet the needs of our clients and educate our community on those needs.”

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