As many observe Women’s History Month, it’s increasingly clear that District women are proving themselves as movers and shakers.
D.C. has the highest median earnings for female workers — $34,417 — one and a half times higher than in California, which has the lowest at $22,508, according to a new study by the District-based personal finance website WalletHub.
At 77.2 percent participation, the District also had the highest share of women who voted in the 2016 presidential election, more than one and half times higher than Hawaii, which had the lowest rate at 49.3 percent.
But women in some parts of America still get the short end of the stick — even as they outnumber men in most states. 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 25 percent of the Senate and 23.4 percent of the House of Representatives.
And the prevalence of sexual harassment remains a prominent issue in 2019’s political landscape, according to WalletHub.
In order 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 24 key indicators of living standards for women. The data set ranges from median earnings for female workers to women’s preventive health care to female homicide rate.
In overall rankings for “Best States for Women,” the District finished fourth, just behind North Dakota, Massachusetts and Minnesota and just ahead of New York.
Maryland finished 19th while Virginia came in at No. 24. The bottom five were Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Arkansas and Alabama.
However, D.C. finished first in the category of the highest median earnings for female workers — a statistic adjusted for the cost of living.
Virginia and Maryland finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
California, Utah, Hawaii, Maine and New York were the five states with the lowest median earnings for female workers.
Hawaii, Nebraska, North Dakota, Colorado, Minnesota and Iowa each had the lowest unemployment rate for women while the District and Alaska tied for the states with the highest unemployment rate for women.
Maryland had the second lowest percent of women living in poverty while Mississippi had the highest.
Alaska, Colorado, Virginia, Florida and Georgia had the highest percent of women-owned businesses while South Carolina, Idaho, Nebraska, Utah and Vermont had the lowest.
D.C. women were the most active for the 2016 presidential election while Hawaii, West Virginia, Tennessee, Texas and Oklahoma had the lowest percent of women who voted in that election.
Massachusetts, D.C., Vermont, Hawaii and Minnesota have the lowest female uninsured rate while Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida have the highest female uninsured rate.
“One of the most important factors for women who work outside the home to consider when choosing a state to live in is employment opportunities in the state and how much women earn in absolute terms and relative to men,” said Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, a WalletHub expert and professor at at Rutgers University’s Department of Labor Studies & Employment Relations and Department of Women & Gender Studies. “States with jobs in a wide range of industries with potential to advance to higher-level occupations would be ideal.”
When one begins to talk about how women fare when it comes to the states they live in, it’s essential to talk about which women, said Jo Reger, a WalletHub expert and professor of sociology at Oakland University.
“While the temptation of some research is to make women a universal category, women of different races, ethnicities, religions, education level and sexual and gender identities fare very differently depending on the environment around them,” Reger said. “The U.S. has never been a society where all regions were uniform in their treatment of women.”
To view the full report, go to wallethub.com.