The finance website WalletHub, which regularly produces data analyses ranking states by a wide range of criteria, recently released its list of the best and worst states in terms of women’s equality.
As we’ve noted on several occasions, WalletHub studies typically pull in many data sets in making their evaluations, and are intriguing conversation starters, but stop short of delving into the nuances of each state. Sometimes these rankings are arguably unfair to one state or another because of different data reporting practices, for instance.
The latest data study comes just a few days before Women’s Equality Day — Wednesday — and after the World Economic Forum released its list of the top 10 most gender-equal countries, a list the United States fell short of making.
In America, women are over-represented among minimum wage earners and under-represented among business leaders, according to multiple organizations.
Reads the WalletHub post, in part:
“According to the Center for American Progress, women ‘are only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.’ … Apart from unequal representation in executive leadership, salary inequity also has been central to the gender-gap debate. Few experts dispute the existence of an earnings gap between women and men, but measuring the disparity remains a challenge. Although the U.S. has completely closed its gender education gap, about two-thirds of minimum-wage workers across the country are female, according to the National Women’s Law Center.”
But within the U.S., WalletHub reports there are pockets of relative gender equality. Maine boasts the country’s slimmest gaps between men and women in terms of educational attainment, unemployment rate and political representation, for instance.
When the site’s researchers crunched all their numbers — they used 11 “key metrics” in determining each state’s gender equality (see all of them, as well as their sources for the data, here) — Maine was ranked No. 6 nationwide, with only Hawaii, New York, Illinois, Maryland and Vermont ahead of it.
Maine finished a strong 7th nationally in terms of the earnings gap and what WalletHub called its “Executive Positions Gap.”
As seen in the photos at the top of this post, women hold president and CEO positions in Maine-based — and internationally successful — companies WEX Inc. and Putney, while as recently as three years ago, three out of the state’s four congressional delegates were women. (Two, Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree and Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, still are.)
Of the New England states, only Rhode Island fell in the bottom half of the country, using WalletHub’s analysis. After Vermont and Maine, New Hampshire ranked No. 9, while Massachusetts and Connecticut came in at No. 21 and No. 24, respectively.
The worst state in the country in terms of gender equality, according to the WalletHub formula, is Utah, with Wyoming, Texas, South Carolina and Idaho rounding out the bottom five.