List: 2021’s best and worst states for women’s equality


CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Women’s rights have made significant strides since the 19th amendment passed, but there is still widespread unequal treatment of women in the United States.

In 2021, the U.S. failed to place in the top 25 of the World Economic Forum’s ranking of 156 countries based on gender equality, ranking instead 30th. In honor of Women’s Equality Day Thursday, designed to celebrate women breaking the glass ceiling, Wallethub took a look at the best and worst states for women’s equality across the country.

WalletHub compared all 50 states across 17 key measures from gap between female and male executives to disparities in unemployment rates. The data set included three key dimensions: workplace environment, political empowerment and education and health.

The top five states for women’s rights were:

  1. Nevada
  2. Hawaii
  3. Vermont
  4. Maine
  5. New York

Nevada and Hawaii ranked in the top five for the smallest work hours gap. Vermont ranked in the top for the smallest income gap between men and women. Maine and Nevada shared the top spots of the smallest gap in political representation in their respective states.

Source: WalletHub

The states with the worst gender inequality (ranked 46 to 50) were:

  • Kansas
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Idaho
  • Utah

Utah and Idaho had the largest educational attainment gap between the sexes among advanced degree holders. Idaho and Utah also had some of the largest income gaps between men and women.

Karie Riddle, assistant professor of political science at Pepperdine University, said the United States should consider gender quotas to close gaps in all categories, but in particular political empowerment.

“Many other countries have implemented gender quotas to bring more women into formal political office, at local, state, and national levels,” said Riddle. “Quotas can take many different forms, such as a required minimum percentage of female candidates fielded by political parties, or a certain number of reserved seats for women in, e.g., a local city council or a national parliament. Rwanda has been so successful with its national-level gender quota that it was the first country in the world with over 50% female representation in its national legislature (in 2008).”

To see where your state ranks, go to Wallethub’s website.

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