Special Report

Worst States for Women

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21. Iowa
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 83.7% (15th highest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 81.6 years (14th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 29.3% (21st lowest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 36.1% (5th lowest)

Though Iowa has a female governor, there are far fewer women in the state legislature than the average nationwide, at just 29.3%, compared to 30.6% of all state legislators. Women are also very unlikely to hold management positions in the private sector. Iowa has the fifth-lowest share of management jobs held by women, at 36.1%.

One of the main reasons why Iowa ranks 21st best for women is its health outcomes. The state’s female life expectancy at birth is the nation’s 14th highest, at 81.6 years. Iowa’s women also have the fifth-highest insured rate, at 96.0%

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22. Arizona
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 86.4% (6th highest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 81.5 years (17th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 43.3% (6th highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 42.4% (17th highest)

Arizona is unique in how frequently its voters have elected female representatives at multiple levels of government. It is the only state to have had at least four female governor’s throughout its history, and women hold 43.3% of all seats in the state legislature, compared to 30.6% of all seats in all 50 state legislatures.

Arizona also has the sixth smallest gender wage gap of any state, with female workers earning 86.4% of what men do, compared to 82.3% nationwide. In Arizona, 42.4% of management occupations are held by women, 1 percentage point higher than the share of management jobs held by women nationwide.

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23. Pennsylvania
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 79.6% (16th lowest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 80.8 years (23rd lowest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 28.9% (20th lowest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 41.1% (21st lowest)

Many of Pennsylvania’s financial, health, and leadership measures considered are roughly in line with overall U.S. rates, which is why the state ranks towards the middle of all states in best and worst states for women.

The earnings of Pennsylvania’s female workers are roughly in line with those of all U.S. female workers, ranking 20th overall. However, the state’s female workers earn less than 80% of what its male workers do.

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24. Nebraska
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 83.1% (18th highest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 81.4 years (20th highest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 26.5% (16th lowest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 35.3% (3rd lowest)

Nebraska is one of the best states in terms of investing in early education. The state spends nearly $9,000 per child enrolled in preschool, which ranks 10th among all states. Also, a quarter of children ages 3 and 4 are enrolled in a state prekindergarten, compared to 20% of all U.S. kids those ages. This investment can be beneficial for both children and parents.

However, Nebraska ranks towards the middle of the best and worst states for women because of its low performance in leadership measures. Female lawmakers and workers hold a relatively low share of the power in the state. Just 26.5% of legislative seats are held by women, compared to 30.6% across all states. Also, just 35.3% of management jobs are held by women, the third-lowest share in the country.

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25. Nevada
> Female earnings as pct. of male earnings: 79.8% (17th lowest)
> Female life expectancy at birth: 80.5 years (20th lowest)
> Pct. legislative seats held by women: 61.9% (the highest)
> Pct. mgmt. jobs held by women: 42.6% (14th highest)

Though Nevada does not rank as one of the best states for women, it has by far the highest share of legislative seats held by female representatives, at 61.9%. In no other state do women hold even half off all seats. However, the state has never had a female governor, though 31 other states have.

Nevada has one of the widest gender wage gaps in the country, as women earn less than 80% of what men do. The state also has a relatively low annual average income for women, at $41,132 – $5,200 lower than the median for all female workers in the U.S.

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