Which States Are the Best and the Worst For Women to Live In?

Did you know that today is Women's Equality Day? It's sort of a testimony to the lack of emphasis America places on the rights of women that you probably didn't. August 26 was selected to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote in 1920. Kind of a big deal for half the population. 

In the U.S., equality depends an awful lot on where you live. A new WalletHub study finds that gender-based disparities vary widely from state to state. The study examined 10 key metrics, including the gap in the number of female and male executives, differences in life expectancy, and political representation.

Turns out the Hawaii is the best state in America for females to live, followed by New York and Maryland (see the complete ranking). California falls lower down the list, at #12, and Texas ranks a dismal #47. But even Texas is not the worst state for women. That dubious distinction goes to Wyoming. Utah is no picnic either, coming in at second-to-last (might have something to do with all that Mormon sexism).

If the gap in pay is your chief concern, then Arizona is a great place to live, ranking top in that category (Mississippi is the worst). On the other hand, if you're more interested in political representation, head to to New Hampshire, which has the smallest gap between men and women (Arkansas has the highest).

As a country, the U.S. does not do very well compared to many other nations when it comes to how we treat women. According to the 2013 Global Gender Gap Report, the U.S. ranks #33 on the Health & Survival metric, and #60 on the Political Empowerment metric. On Wage Equality, we're at a shocking #67.

What are we doing wrong? Well, among other things, we place impossible demands on working women trying to raise families, with work/family policies that make much of the world shudder. Many members of the U.S. Congress do not understand how the female reproductive system works, and campaign tirelessly to restrict the freedom of women to make choices about their health. Our lack of a national healthcare system, stingy social safety net, and lack of protection for low-wage workers who suffer everything from frequent changes in shifts to wage theft also negatively impacts women. Women are still paid less than men at every educational level and in every job category.

In short, America is not getting the job done on gender equality. It would help if we saw this problem not just as a "women's issue," but a key factor in the success of our whole society and economy.

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