10 Worst States for Women

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Wichita, Kansas
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10. Kansas
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 76.6% (15th lowest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 35.9% (7th lowest)
> Pct. 3-4 yr. olds enrolled in state pre-K: 10.1% (25th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 24.8% (25th lowest)

When women hold elected office, they are more likely to introduce legislation that helps marginalized groups. In Kansas, less than a quarter of the state legislature is comprised of women and only one of the six elected officials that represent the state on Capitol Hill is female.

With few female lawmakers, Kansas does not offer some protections that are common elsewhere for women in the workforce. There are no major state mandated pregnancy accommodations and no paid family leave for either private or public sector employees.

Birmingham, Alabama cloudy
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9. Alabama
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 76.1% (13th lowest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 38.7% (17th lowest)
> Pct. 3-4 yr. olds enrolled in state pre-K: 6% (20th lowest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 14.3% (5th lowest)

Alabama has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, and it is an even greater problem for women in the state. One in four women live in poverty, and they account for 56.5% of the state’s poor population. The state’s substantial wage gap is a significant contributing factor. The typical female worker in the state earns 76 cents for every dollar earned by her male counterpart.

Gallatin County, Montana
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8. Montana
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 72.5% (6th lowest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 37.9% (11th lowest)
> Pct. 3-4 yr. olds enrolled in state pre-K: 0% (the lowest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 31.3% (8th highest)

By some measures, Montana has a history of giving women opportunities to influence public affairs. In 1914, several years before the 19th Amendment was passed, Montana became one of the first states in the country to give women the right to vote. Today, women account for more than 30% of the state legislature, a higher share than in most states.

However, the state is behind by some other important measures of women’s equality. For example, it is one of just eight to have no state-funded pre-K programs.