Women in a number of Northeast states fare better in income, health, and employment than peers in other parts of the nation, according to a private study released Tuesday.
The study, conducted by the bipartisan Institute for Women’s Policy Research, analyzed the male-female wage gap, women’s annual income, political participation, health care and reproductive rights throughout the country. Women’s overall status ranks highest in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Vermont and Connecticut, the study found. Southern states were at the bottom.
The study also shows that states doing well in some areas lag in others. New York tied with California for fifth place in women’s median annual earnings ($22,000), yet New York ranked 46th for women’s political clout, as measured by elected officials, voter registration and turnout.
Among the study’s findings:
The narrowest wage gap is in the District of Columbia, with women overall earning nearly 88 cents for each dollar men make. The widest gap is in West Virginia, with women receiving less than 59 cents for every dollar men are paid.
West Virginia has the lowest percentage of women in the labor force (46.6 percent), followed by New York (53.2 percent), Louisiana (53.3 percent) and Pennsylvania (54.6 percent). The average was 58.8 percent.
Feminist author Betty Friedan demanded that women’s political and economic power be acknowledged in absolute terms, not only in the context of “women’s issues.”
“The implication of this study is that it won’t do anymore to give women a few pats on the head or another breast cancer test or an added two hours in the hospital.”