In 2018, women in some parts of America still get the short end of the stick — even as they outnumber men in most states, according to D.C.-based financial website WalletHub.
For instance, women represent nearly two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers in the U.S. Their political representation also suffers, as women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population but only 22 percent of the Senate and 19.3 percent 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.
To determine how women are faring and where they can find the best opportunities relative to where they live, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 23 key indicators of living standards for women. The data ranged from median earnings for female workers to women’s preventive health care to female homicide rate.
While D.C. ranked 15th overall, the District topped all in the category of highest median earnings for female workers, adjusted for cost of living. Minnesota, Delaware, Virginia and Illinois rounded out the top five in that category.
Montana, Maine, California, Oregon, and Hawaii had the lowest earnings for female workers, adjusted for cost of living.
Oddly though, D.C. ranked among those with the highest unemployment rate for women, beating out only Georgia, Illinois, Alaska and New Mexico.
New Hampshire, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont had the lowest unemployment rate for women.
Also, New Hampshire, Maryland, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii and Minnesota had the lowest percent of women in poverty while the distinction of those with the highest percentage of women in poverty went to Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi.
States with the highest percentage of women-owned businesses are Alaska, Colorado, Virginia, Florida, and Georgia while those with the lowest percentage of women-owned businesses were Vermont, Utah, Nebraska, Idaho and South Dakota.
D.C. topped the nation with the highest percentage of women who voted in the 2016 presidential election, followed by Maine, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Washington state.
The states with the lowest percentage of women who voted in the election that saw Donald Trump win the White House were Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia and Hawaii.
“The #Metoo movement has provided a model for those women who have hesitated to reveal the sexual harassment or sexual violence they have endured, or may even be going through now,” said WalletHub expert Emilie M. Townes, the dean of the Divinity School and E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University.
“The far too long history of various forms of sexual predation that women and girls have endured has been something largely suffered in silence, for fear of not being believed, being blamed for our victimization, being ostracized in our workplace, families, communities, religious households, and being told that we are overreacting,” Townes said.
“Telling the truth and realizing that by telling truth, the cone of silence and complicity is shattered, and women can show all groups which have been victimized that one can speak out and name dehumanizing and violence for what it is,” she said.
Any movement that works to dismantle cisheteropatriarchy, especially as it’s perpetuated through violence and sexual assault, is a movement that benefits everyone, said Kemi Adeyemi, another WalletHub expert and assistant professor of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies and director of the Black Embodiments Studio at the University of Washington.
“I think arguments that #MeToo is detrimental say far more about the insecurities of the people proffering them than the people out doing the work,” Adeyemi said.
She went on to offer what a state level policy agenda for women should include.
“A state-level policy agenda should begin from the vantage point of non-white people across the gender spectrum,” Adeyemi said. “From these perspectives, we can most accurately understand how the effects of public policy shape quotidian life — from the public transportation we ride, to the adequate medical care and education that we are denied access to, to the toxic housing we inhabit, to the prisons we are forced into.”
For the complete report, go to https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-states-for-women/10728.