On Mother’s Day, Where Is It Best, And Worst, To Be A Woman In The USA?

A graphic of a group of women of diverse race and profession

By John A. Tures, Professor of Political Science, LaGrange College

“Women must try to do things as men have tried,” Amelia Earhart once said. “When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” That quote, found in Good Housekeeping, emphasizes not only the importance of trying, but not being discouraged by failure. Given the state of being a woman in America, and a mother as well, it’s unfortunately a lot more challenging in some parts than others.

“Women in the U.S. still face a lot of adversity, so living in the right state can greatly impact their quality of life,” writes Cassandra Hape, a WalletHub Analyst. “The best states for women provide equitable economic conditions, encourage robust political participation, have quality health care, and ensure safety for the women who reside there.”

To determine where women doing well and where their situation definitely needs improvement, WalletHub conducted an analysis of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, utilizing 25 standard of living variables for women. These can include everything from health care for women to the crime rate that women must face in a state. It also measures the economic well-being for a woman in a state, which incorporates job security and unemployment rates, to access to abortion and how many women are likely to be physically active.

As Miguel Legoas from The Augusta Chronicle reports, Georgia did not fare well in the WalletHub study. “Georgia received an overall score of about 43.3 out of 100. It ranked similarly in both of the indicator categories. According to further data provided by WalletHub spokesperson Diana Polk, the state scored particularly poorly in female high school graduation rates and rates of uninsured women. In both indicators, Georgia was ranked the third worst in the U.S.” That led Georgia to be ninth from the bottom,

Rounding out the bottom ten, with Missouri at tenth, were Wyoming (eighth), West Virginia (seventh), Arkansas (sixth), Texas (fifth), Alabama (fourth), Mississippi (third), Louisiana (second) and Oklahoma (first).

But that does not mean everything is bad for women in the Peach State, according to Legoas. When it comes to the economy, Georgia is doing quite well by women. “But it’s not all bad-news here. Georgia ranked first in unemployment rates for women with 3%. It was also in the top 10 for median earnings for women, $39,689, and share of women-owned businesses, 22.47%.”

When at the Georgia Capitol, I see more women in the legislature than before, and they’re focusing on issues that some think of as “women’s issues,” but cases where men could benefit as well, in terms of education and one’s social well-being and mental health. And I get frequent updates from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, where Brad Raffensperger about the “She Leads” program.

“She Leads is a financial empowerment seminar series hosted by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger as part of his multi-faceted financial literacy effort and is administered through the Securities and Charities divisions of the Office of Secretary of State,” his press office writes. “These free webinars feature industry leaders who discuss resources that can help increase attendees’ knowledge about money, their relationship to money, and financial issues and strategies for growing their wealth.” More about this program can be found here.

Some states Georgia may want to emulate are those that did the best in the survey for women in America, which include Massachusetts, DC, Minnesota, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington, Oregon, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Rhode Island and California.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. His views are his own. He can be reached at jtures@lagrange.edu. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.