Women* are an economic and political force in South Carolina. They are more highly educated than men, comprise 48.6 percent of the paid labor force, and are 56 percent of voters.

But as a result of unfair and discriminatory policies and practices, South Carolina is a state with stark disparities based on race, gender, and sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Black women, who are 75.7 percent of all women of color in South Carolina, face tremendous barriers to fair wages, affordable child care, dignity-based schools and workplaces, and comprehensive health care, including abortion. LGBTQ people also face large barriers to opportunity, equity, and economic security. Although there is a paucity of data on LGBTQ people in South Carolina, particularly transgender women and nonbinary people, the information that is available indicates significant disparities in treatment, access, and care.

This fact sheet provides an overview of how women and gender expansive people are faring in South Carolina. It focuses on the discrepancies between women’s political participation and leadership, as well as the issues that determine whether individuals can make real decisions about whether and when to start a family; access affordable, high-quality child care; and pursue work that pays them equitably and treats them with dignity—core building blocks of gender justice. Recent policy advances in South Carolina, such as the Pregnancy Accommodations Act, demonstrate that South Carolinians can come together to advance meaningful changes for gender equity. The information below can help identify additional opportunities to build on those successes and ensure that all South Carolinians have equitable opportunity to thrive.

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