The United States sure talks a lot about being a society where “all men are created equal,” but it turns out that not specifically giving a shout out to women’s equality in the Declaration of Independence is seeming more and more intentional these days and less a relic of old-timey speech patterns. That’s the thought that first ran through my mind when I read that the World Economic Forum has ranked the U.S. 51st in gender equality out of 149 countries in 2018, a drop from the previous (still embarrassing) position of 49.
The study looks at four different categories: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. Where the US is serious lagging behind the 50 countries ahead of us is health and survival (we’re ranked 71st globally, no surprise considering our whack health care system, which is especially lacking for many women of color), and political empowerment, where we’re shamefully ranked 98th globally.
This year, WalletHub decided to look closer at data from individual states to see which ones might be driving the gender inequality that has lead to the U.S. being so poorly ranked globally.
Even in the 21st century, #women still get the short end of the stick. In honor of #WomensEqualityDay on Aug. 26, WalletHub identified the most gender-egalitarian states: https://t.co/T3FFxhC4Wc pic.twitter.com/McnlgzVtQ7
— WalletHub (@wallethub) August 20, 2019
While Maine was ranked #1 in gender equality based on Workplace Environment, Education & Health, and Political Empowerment, it still only scored 76.75 out of 100, which for those of you keeping track would be a C on a school report card. It was joined in the Top 5 by Hawaii, Nevada, New York, and New Mexico.
Lagging far behind with a score of 25.10 was Utah, which was ranked as the worst state for women’s equality. It was ranked dead last in the categories of Workplace Environment and Education & Health, and 49th in Political Empowerment, not too surprising considering some of the stories we’ve heard from the state.
The next-worst state, Idaho, scored 15 points higher than Utah, for a score of 40.03, and rounding out the five lowest-scoring states for women’s equality were Texas, South Carolina, and Louisiana.
An obvious shortcoming of both studies is that they lump all women together, but the story of gender equality, at least in America, is a lot more complicated. Income, education, health care coverage, and business leadership inequality between most women of color and white men is even more dramatic than the average numbers given by these studies.
There’s a lot of data to explore, but looking at our position globally and the information about our states individually is one way to learn more about how we can improve…hopefully sooner rather than later.