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 2018, the U.S. failed to place in the top 10 — or even the top 40 — of the World Economic Forum’s ranking of 149 countries based on gender equality. In fact, the U.S. dropped to 51st position from its previous rank 49th.
With Women’s Equality Day around the corner and the U.S. ranking No. 51 out of 149 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index – falling two spots since the previous year – the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2019’s Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality as well as accompanying videos.
In order to determine where women receive the most equal treatment in American society, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 17 key metrics. The data set ranges from the gap between female and male executives to the disparity in unemployment rates for women and men.
Women’s Equality in California (1=Best; 25=Avg.):
- 14th – Earnings Gap
- 33rd – Executive Positions Gap
- 7th – Work Hours Gap
- 45th – Educational Attainment Gap (among Advanced Degree Holders)
- 4th – Minimum-Wage Workers Gap
- 45th – Unemployment Rate Gap
- 16th – Entrepreneurship Rate Gap
- 9th – Political Representation Gap
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. However, the 116th congress had the largest rise in women members since the 1990s.
Best States for Women’s Rights
By MELANIE NATHAN