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Women's Equality Day: Where Does Tennessee Stand?

Tennessee gets high marks for women's access to education, but points to room for improvement in other areas. Credit: taliesin/morguefile.com
Tennessee gets high marks for women's access to education, but points to room for improvement in other areas. Credit: taliesin/morguefile.com
August 26, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Today is Women's Equality Day, and a new national survey ranks Tennessee near the top for one consideration that is important to women - and others, not so much.

The Volunteer State is ranked 24th for workplace environments, a category that combines such topics as wages, the number of female executives and entrepreneurs. But Tennessee receives a top rating for access to education.

Jill Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for the survey group WalletHub, said the state is doing something right when it comes to higher education.

"Tennessee is really excelling when it comes to the education portion of our study," she said. "So we looked at the number of residents ages 25 and up with a bachelor's degree or higher, and women are actually surpassing men here."

According to the Center for American Progress, women make up slightly less than 15 percent of executive officers and less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 chief executives.

Gonzalez said one area where Tennessee is lagging is in women's political empowerment. State and federal lawmakers are mostly male, leading to a ranking of 39th.

"That's where Tennessee could definitely see some improvement," she said. "Tennessee has an 80 percent gap; there are 80 percent more men than female."

The WalletHub report combined findings of seven government agencies and organizations for its rankings. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States 20th worldwide for success in closing the gender gap. That puts the country behind developing nations such as Rwanda, and more established economies such as Iceland.

Women's Equality Day commemorates women gaining the right to vote in the United States with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

The WalletHub study is online at wallethub.com. The World Economic Forum report is at reports.weforum.org.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN