Special Report

Ranking Gender Inequality in All 50 States

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico
Source: Thinkstock

11. New Mexico
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 84.6% (7th highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 43.0% (7th highest)
> Pct. 3-4 yr. olds enrolled in state pre-K: 15.1% (22nd highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 26.8% (19th highest)

Women are more likely to have influential leadership positions in New Mexico than in most other states. Statewide, women hold 43% of jobs in management, slightly more than is typical across the country. Furthermore, the state is one of only six in the country with a female governor, and Congresswoman Michelle Grisham has represented the New Mexico’s 1st district in Washington since 2013.

The state could improve conditions for women by expanding pre-K programs to admit three-year-olds. Currently, New Mexico is one of nearly two dozen states to have no taxpayer funded pre-K programs for three-year-olds.

St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Source: Thinkstock

12. Minnesota
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 81.1% (17th highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 37.9% (11th lowest)
> Pct. 3-4 yr. olds enrolled in state pre-K: 0.9% (9th lowest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 33.3% (4th highest)

One third of Minnesota’s state legislature and a fifth of its congressional delegation are female, including the state’s senior senator, Amy Klobuchar. While women have a larger than typical role in Minnesota politics, they are notably underrepresented in management jobs. Only 37.9% of management roles in the state are held by women, one of the smaller percentages in the country.

As is true nationwide, women earn less than men in Minnesota, despite higher high school diploma and bachelor’s degree attainment rates.

Towson, Maryland
Source: Thinkstock

13. Maryland
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 83.6% (11th highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 43.7% (4th highest)
> Pct. 3-4 yr. olds enrolled in state pre-K: 20.2% (15th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 31.4% (7th highest)

Nationwide, women are more likely than men to live in poverty. The discrepancy is especially stark in Maryland. Women represent 58% of all people living below the poverty line in the state, the largest share in the country.

Women do hold a relatively large share of powerful jobs in Maryland, however. Nearly 44% of management jobs in the state are held by women, and 20% of the state’s congressional delegation is female, including senior Senator Barbara Mikulski, who has been serving since 1987. After serving in the U.S. Senate longer than any woman in history, Mikulski is not running for reelection in 2016.

Portland Head Light in Maine at Sunrise
Source: Thinkstock

14. Maine
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 78.5% (22nd lowest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 45.3% (the highest)
> Pct. 3-4 yr. olds enrolled in state pre-K: 18.3% (16th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 29.0% (12th highest)

Gender inequality is not an issue in terms of representation in Maine’s congressional delegation. The gender split among the state’s representation on Capitol Hill is 50/50 and includes Susan Collins, who has served as a senator for nearly two decades.

Maine is also notable for the large share of women working in management positions. Women hold more than 45% of all management jobs in Maine, the largest percentage of any state in the country.

Chicago, Illinois 4
Source: Thinkstock

15. Illinois
> Female earnings as pct. of male: 79.2% (23rd highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 39.3% (22nd lowest)
> Pct. 3-4 yr. olds enrolled in state pre-K: 23.4% (13th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 31.1% (9th highest)

Women working in public sector jobs in Illinois enjoy more family benefits than their private sector counterparts. While women in both the private and public sector in the state benefit from employer pregnancy accommodations and right-to-pump laws that expand on federal regulations, only public sector workers have the option of more time off than is granted under the federal Family & Medical Leave Act of 1993, which allows 12 weeks of unpaid time off from work for a number of reasons, including childbirth and caring for an ill child.

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