Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality

 |  Adam McCann, Financial Writer

Women’s rights in the U.S. have made leaps and bounds since the passage of the 19th Amendment. Yet many women still struggle to break the glass ceiling because of unequal treatment in society. Unfortunately, the gender gap in 21st century America has only expanded. In 2017, the U.S. failed to place in the top 10 — or even the top 40 — of the World Economic Forum’s ranking of 144 countries based on gender equality. In fact, the U.S. dropped to 49th position from its previous rank 45th.

The workplace provides even more evidence of the issue. Despite their advances toward social equality, women are disproportionately underrepresented in leadership positions. Women make up more than 50% of the population. According to the American Association of University Women, women only constitute 25% of legislators and less than 29% of business executives.

Apart from unequal representation in executive leadership, salary inequity has been central to the gender-gap debate. Few experts dispute an earnings gap between women and men, but there’s disagreement when it comes to the proper method of measuring that disparity. The fact remains, however, that nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers across the country are female, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Unfortunately, women are underrepresented in government, which makes changing laws relating to their condition more difficult.

To determine where women receive the most equal treatment, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 16 key indicators of gender equality. Our data set ranges from the gap between female and male executives to the disparity in unemployment rates for women and men. Read on for our findings, expert commentary and a full description of our methodology.

1MAIN FINDINGS2ASK THE EXPERTS

3METHODOLOGY4VIDEOS FOR NEWS USE

Main Findings

EMBED ON YOUR WEBSITE

 

Best States for Women’s Rights

Overall Rank

(1 = Best)

State

Total Score

‘Workplace Environment’ Rank

‘Education & Health’ Rank

‘Political Empowerment’ Rank

1

New York

68.66

9

12

2

2

Minnesota

67.07

4

21

5

3

Maine

64.78

24

15

7

4

Nevada

64.33

34

25

1

5

Hawaii

62.85

26

6

13

6

Delaware

62.37

32

4

12

7

Alaska

62.27

2

28

11

8

North Dakota

62.21

31

8

9

9

Washington

61.69

10

41

3

10

New Mexico

61.65

1

7

25

11

Massachusetts

59.83

49

10

6

12

West Virginia

58.79

16

1

29

13

Illinois

58.49

35

37

4

14

Iowa

58.20

13

19

17

15

California

58.11

29

22

10

16

Wisconsin

57.31

20

20

18

17

Rhode Island

57.18

11

5

28

18

Vermont

57.18

40

2

27

19

Connecticut

55.90

44

24

8

20

Indiana

55.06

22

26

20

21

New Jersey

54.86

33

16

19

22

Michigan

53.96

42

27

16

23

Colorado

53.30

47

9

21

24

Ohio

52.62

27

3

36

25

Montana

51.88

28

14

38

26

Oregon

51.73

5

39

22

27

Nebraska

51.19

3

43

24

28

Kentucky

49.52

18

23

34

29

Pennsylvania

49.52

21

13

39

30

Wyoming

49.46

12

35

30

31

Maryland

49.43

6

18

45

32

New Hampshire

48.41

48

38

14

33

Missouri

48.20

43

44

15

34

Mississippi

47.99

30

34

26

35

Tennessee

47.73

17

17

48

36

North Carolina

46.95

23

33

32

37

South Dakota

44.29

50

11

42

38

Alabama

43.83

36

32

33

39

Kansas

43.79

15

42

35

40

Georgia

42.43

14

40

44

41

Oklahoma

42.37

46

29

37

42

Florida

42.15

7

47

31

43

Arkansas

41.77

39

31

40

44

Louisiana

41.10

25

30

50

45

South Carolina

40.68

19

36

49

46

Virginia

40.45

8

46

46

47

Arizona

38.76

41

48

23

48

Texas

36.89

37

45

47

49

Idaho

30.51

38

49

41

50

Utah

25.51

45

50

43

Ask the Experts

As the U.S. slips further down the WEC’s Global Gender Gap Index, we asked a panel of experts to shed light on the reasons behind the country’s disappointing performance in closing its gender gap. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:

  1. The U.S. currently ranks 82nd globally when it comes to the gender gap in health and survival. What is driving this? What should be done to close this gap?
  2. The U.S. currently ranks 96th globally when it comes to the gender gap in political empowerment. Are there strategies the U.S. can learn from other countries to help close this gap?
  3. What policies would be most effective in closing the gender pay gap?
  4. What policies would prove effective at increasing female representation in senior management roles in the Fortune 500 and other large, multinational corporations?