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A new report ranked the best and worst US states for women's equality


Hawaii is leading the way for women's equality in the U.S, according to a new WalletHub report that ranked the best and worst states for women's equality.

The personal finance website used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Women's Law Center and National Center for Educational Statistics in compiling its rankings. It ranked each state in three categories: "Workplace Environment Rank," "Education & Health' Rank," and "Political Empowerment Rank."

Nevada, Illinois, Minnesota and Washington followed Hawaii on the list of best states for women's equality. Utah ranked dead last, with Virginia, Texas, South Carolina and Georgia rounding out the bottom five.

Hawaii, Florida, New York, and North Carolina had the smallest income gap, while Alaska, Louisiana, Alabama, and Utah had the largest gaps.

The states with the best working hours for women were Nevada, Delaware, Maryland and Arizona, the report found. Idaho, Alaska and Wyoming offered the worst working hours.

Erin Heidt-Forsythe, assistant professor of women's gender and sexuality studies and political science at Pennsylvania State University, said some states are failing to provide equality for women because they aren't tackling the issue in health care and education.

"The U.S. is a case of great disparities: you can get the highest quality maternal care, if you pay (or have a job with excellent insurance coverage) -- but in the U.S., we have the poorest maternal outcomes in North America and Europe," Heidt-Forsythe wrote.

"In terms of closing this gap, we need to attend to each element: dismantle/change practices that allow racial, class, and educational biases to be a barrier to access to medical care," she added.

Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst who was apart of the study, told Circa that states can implement a number of government policies to improve equality for women.

"Establishing gender quotas for government office would be a good start. Company-provided daycare services, generous parental leave policies and women-focused entrepreneurial incubators all would help lessen the workplace gap."

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