The U.S. may be a leader around the world in many areas, but the gender inequity in our country is downright embarrassing. Women fare worse than men by virtually every measure in a new WalletHub ranking of the best and worst states to be female. Overall, women earn less, they hold fewer leadership positions, and they are more likely to be unemployed.
While being female in the U.S. seems to be all bad news, there are some states where it's a little more palatable. Using metrics such as workplace environment, education, and political empowerment, WalletHub ranked each state. "Northeastern states are pretty well represented in the top 10," said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst who worked on the ranking. "As far as the bottom 10, it's a little more skewed."
Here are the 10 best and 10 worst states for women’s equality.
The island state fares well in terms of education, with a slightly higher percentage of women older than 25 holding a bachelor's degree than men. The state comes in third, behind Maine and Washington, for its gender gap in political empowerment; specifically, the number of female lawmakers in Congress and the state legislature.
2. New York
While women in New York do similarly well compared to men when it comes to unemployment rates and college education, they continue to earn nearly 17 percent less than men per week.
Illinois ranks in the bottom half for its percentage of female executives, but the state does better than most in supporting women entrepreneurs. Women in the state also have the best math test scores in the nation and rank well higher education rates.
The state has one of the lowest work-hour gaps in the nation, with women clocking only about 10 percent fewer hours than men. Unemployment rate and college attainment are also fairly balanced..
Vermont has the lowest wage gap, with women earning 8.7 percent less than men. Somewhat depressingly, the fact that there are only 44 percent more male executives than female executives puts the state at third on that measure, meaning the ratio is even more skewed in most states. Across the country, women are far less likely than men to be executives.
Women in Maine enjoy the smallest gap in political empowerment, with a relatively high number of women in elected office, but the state ranks toward the bottom when it comes to supporting female entrepreneurs.
Minnesota ranks high in the percentage of women with bachelor’s degrees and women also have a low unemployment rate. But the state fares poorly in entrepreneurship and math scores.
Women in the state are slightly less likely to be unemployed but the state ranks 28th in the number of female executives.
Women in Missouri are slightly less likely to be unemployed, but their weekly earnings are 22 percent lower than their male colleagues’, putting the state at #39 on the pay measure.
T-9. New Hampshire
Women in the state are among the most politically empowered in the nation, but their math scores are in the bottom half and entrepreneurship is also low.
The state falls in the bottom half of all states when it comes to workplace environment, education, and political empowerment.
Ohio ranks 29th for political empowerment and 42nd in percentage of women with bachelor's degrees.
The state has 30 percent more female minimum-wage workers, putting Oregon 29th. The state is near the bottom (48th) in female math scores.
There are 62 percent more male executives in the state, and women earn about 17 percent less than men.
Louisiana has the highest gap in political representation, with 86.6 percent more male lawmakers.
Women earn 20 percent less than men each week, and there are 60 percent fewer female executives.
Wyoming has the highest pay gap, with women earning 31.4 percent less than men.
Texas is one of the few states where the unemployment rate is actually higher for women than for men.
48. South Carolina
There are 68 percent fewer female executives than male executives in the state.
Idaho actually comes in third with a relatively low 12 percent wage gap, but women in full-time positions work fewer hours than men in full-time positions, and they are far less likely to be entrepreneurs.
Utah has the highest gap when it comes to executives, with 73.82 percent more males. Utah also has the highest education gap favoring men, with 5.2 percent more men having a bachelor's degree.
Emily Jan contributed to this article