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.
Best States for Women’s Rights
‘Workplace Environment’ Rank
‘Education & Health’ Rank
‘Political Empowerment’ Rank
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:
To determine where women receive the most equal treatment in the U.S., WalletHub compared the 50 states across three key dimensions: 1) Workplace Environment, 2) Education & Health and 3) Political Empowerment.
We evaluated those dimensions using 16 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for women’s equality. For all metrics, we compared the differences between women and men. In certain states and for certain metrics where women showed an advantage over men, we treated the state as having gender equality.
Finally, we determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.
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Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Women’s Law Center, National Center for Educational Statistics, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Center for American Women & Politics.
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