In September, the Center for American Progress released a report on The State of Women in America, which ranks the 50 states by 36 indicators of the economic, health, and leadership circumstances of women. Authors Anna Chu and Charles Posner find that despite recent movements toward equality, women still trail behind men in the United States.
Poverty rates, wage gaps, and paid sick leave policies are among the many economic factors examined in the report. Based on these measures, women across the nation experience economic inequality. On average, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar a man is paid. African-American women earn an average of only 64 cents for every dollar that white men make; Hispanic women, only 53 cents for every dollar white men earn. Not surprisingly given these statistics, women also make up a majority of minimum-wage workers.
Poverty rates follow a similar pattern. In 2012, 16.3 percent of American women lived in poverty, compared with 13.6 percent of men. About 28 percent of Hispanic women and 29 percent of African-American women lived in poverty in the same year.
The report also documents a lack of women in leadership positions. Women today comprise almost half of all workers in the labor market but only 38 percent of management positions, 18.1 percent of Congress, and 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.
The authors also examine health topics including health-care coverage, preventative health services, and infant mortality rates. Health-care policies vary by region, with wide inequality gaps across some states. Currently about 21 million women nationwide live without health insurance.
Chu and Posner grade states based on the equality of women in each of the 36 factors. Table 1, reproduced below, shows that Maryland, Hawaii, and Vermont possess the highest gender equality in the country. Women fare the worst overall in Louisiana, Utah, and Oklahoma.
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Source: The State of Women in America
The report includes a wealth of tables with detailed information on the status of women in each of the 50 states and is well worth a careful read.