Where women have higher economic and social wellbeing, quality healthcare and heightened safety
Not all states in America were created equal — especially for women.
On Monday, WalletHub published new research ranking each of America’s 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, based on what they offer women in the workforce.
The timing for WalletHub’s research is intentional: “(W)omen represent nearly two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers in the U.S.,” the company wrote in a statement. “Their political representation also suffers, as women make up 51% of the U.S. population but only 22% of the Senate and 19.3% of the House of Representatives. And the prevalence of sexual harassment has become a prominent issue in 2018’s political landscape, from #MeToo to #TimesUp.”
In tabulating their findings, WalletHub considered 23 metrics around women’s economic and social well-being, health care and safety. These factors included median salary for working women, the unemployment rate, the unaffordability of a doctor’s visit, share of female-owned businesses, share of women who are obese, the female suicide rate, and more.
These are the top five states for working women:
- North Dakota
Why was Minnesota no. 1? The midwest state ranked strongly in multiple categories including high median earnings for female workers (no. 2 on the list), low percentage of women in poverty (no. 5), and highest high school graduation rate (no. 4). Overall, it was first for economic and social well-being, too.
The top five states tended to particularly stand out in terms of high women’s life expectancy, low female unemployment, and a high high school graduation rate for women.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, these five states were ranked the worst:
Louisiana ranked worst in the nation for women’s economic and social well-being (which includes factors like women’s median salary, unemployment rate, job security, and share of women in poverty). It also ranked at no. 47 for women’s health care and safety (this category includes the share of women in good health, the share of women who are obese, and life expectancy).
WalletHub found that, at least in the case of this research, working women generally fare better in Democratic states, which are more than twice as likely to be “women-friendly.” “(S)ome states, like Massachusetts, are generally better than others,” said Mary Godwyn, a professor of sociology at Babson College, in a WalletHub statement. “The education level of women and the number of women in state legislature are also important considerations,” along with gender wage gap, health care, and the social safety set, she noted.
Still, whether your state is red or blue, experts say it’s important that working women know where their state stands on women’s issues. For instance, “I would research what women are paid in the state,” said Darcie Rives-East, chair of the journalism department at Augusta University. “No matter where we are in the US, the pay for women is unfortunately less than what men earn; but one could find out if a certain state might have more pay equity than others.”
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