The best (& worst) states for women to work

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By

Hanna Horvath, CFP®

Hanna Horvath, CFP®

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ & Managing Editor, Growth

Hanna Horvath is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and managing editor for growth at Policygenius. She helps produce the Easy Money newsletter, and owns all growth initiatives for Easy Money. She recently passed her exam to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in November 2020.

Hanna's work has appeared in NBC News, Business Insider and Inc. Magazine. She is regularly quoted in top media outlets, including CNBC, Best Company and HerMoney. She has also appeared on the Money Moolala podcast and All's Fair podcast.

Prior to Policygenius, Hanna wrote for KNBC in Los Angeles and WNBC in New York. When she isn't writing, she's (often) running, (usually) cooking and (sometimes) doing photography.

Published March 14, 2019|3 min read

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Women make up more than half of the U.S. population, but by various measures, they still don’t have their fair share. More than 1 in 7 women (nearly 25.2 million) lived in poverty in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The median weekly wage for women nationally is $770, 81.8% of what men make.

March is Women’s History Month. To find out where women have the most opportunity, we looked at key statistics in each state.

We pulled data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. We looked at earning potential, education and job opportunity. Here’s what we found:

Best states for women: Earnings

5. Rhode Island

Earnings ratio between women and men: 87.1%

4. Nebraska

Earnings ratio between women and men: 87.3%

3. Florida

Earnings ratio between women and men: 87.9%

2. Vermont

Earnings ratio between women and men: 88.9%

1. New Mexico

Earnings ratio between women and men: 90.9%

Worst states for women: Earnings

5. South Carolina

Earnings ratio between women and men: 77.5%

4. Louisiana

Earnings ratio between women and men: 77.4%

3. Washington

Earnings ratio between women and men: 75.5%

2. Utah

Earnings ratio between women and men: 72.1%

1. Wyoming

Earnings ratio between women and men: 71.6%

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Best states for women: Education

5. Connecticut

Percent of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 37.4%

4. Colorado

Percent of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 37.5%

3. Maryland

Percent of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 38.1%

2. Massachusetts

Percent of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 40.3%

1. Washington, D.C.

Percent of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 53.5%

Worst states for women: Education

5. Kentucky

Percent of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 22.7%

4. Nevada

Percent of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 22.2%

3. Mississippi

Percent of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 21.6%

2. Arkansas

Percent of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 20.7%

1. West Virginia

Percent of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher: 19.1%

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Best states for women: Entrepreneurship

5. Georgia

Percent of businesses that women-owned: 30.9%

4. Hawaii

Percent of businesses that women-owned: 31%

3. New Mexico

Percent of businesses that women-owned: 31.7%

2. Maryland

Percent of businesses that women-owned: 32.6%

1. Washington, D.C.

Percent of businesses that women-owned: 34.5%

Worst states for women: Entrepreneurship

5. North Dakota

Percent of businesses that women-owned: 24.7%

4. Montana

Percent of businesses that women-owned: 24.6%

3. Arkansas

Percent of businesses that women-owned: 24.5%

2. Idaho

Percent of businesses that women-owned: 23.5%

1. South Dakota

Percent of businesses that women-owned: 22.1%

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So, where should women move?

Elyse Shaw, senior research associate at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, said determining which states are the best for women is difficult.

“It really depends on how old you are and where you are at in your life,” she said. “For mothers looking to move, look at what are the family-friendly policies in place there? Or for working women, does that state have anti-discrimination policies in place for companies?”

She said factors like cost of living versus what an average woman makes is a good indicator of how successful you can be in your job in your state.

“If you are looking for a place you can advance, you need to look into if women are underpaid or what the educational opportunities are,” she said. (If you believe you are underpaid, here’s what to do about it.)

For gender equality, progress is slow. But it’s happening, said Shaw.

“We are seeing more and more conversations about improving the quality of life for women.” she said. “I hope that continues.”

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CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ & Managing Editor, Growth

Hanna Horvath, CFP®

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ & Managing Editor, Growth

Hanna Horvath is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and managing editor for growth at Policygenius. She helps produce the Easy Money newsletter, and owns all growth initiatives for Easy Money. She recently passed her exam to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in November 2020.

Hanna's work has appeared in NBC News, Business Insider and Inc. Magazine. She is regularly quoted in top media outlets, including CNBC, Best Company and HerMoney. She has also appeared on the Money Moolala podcast and All's Fair podcast.

Prior to Policygenius, Hanna wrote for KNBC in Los Angeles and WNBC in New York. When she isn't writing, she's (often) running, (usually) cooking and (sometimes) doing photography.