Study: Idaho Ranks Second-to-Last for Women's Equality
BOISE, Idaho – Sunday is Women's Equality Day and according to a new analysis, women in the Gem State have a lot of catching up to do to reach equality with their male counterparts.
Women's Equality Day marks the date the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed in 1920, giving women the right to vote. Nearly a century later, women still are under-represented in elected offices and paid less than men.
In WalletHub's report measuring indicators of gender equality Idaho ranks 49th. Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub, says the state can improve most in health and education for women.
"Looking at health care specifically, about five percent more females than males have not gone to the doctor because of affordability issues in the past two years,” says Gonzalez. “So that speaks largely to income disparity as well."
Idaho also has the second highest gap in higher education attainment for women in the country. Researchers compared states in 16 areas, including income pay gap, work-hours gap and political-representation gap.
Idaho did fare better for its workplace environment, ranking 38th. But overall, only Utah ranked lower than Idaho.
Gonzalez notes the country as a whole has also dropped worldwide in gender equality.
"The U.S., out of 144 countries that the World Economic Forum ranks, fails to place in the top 10. Or even the top 40. It ranked 49th this year. Its previous rank last year was 45th,” she says.
Gonzales points to research showing that if the U.S. were to achieve economic gender parity, it could add nearly $2 trillion to the nation's GDP.
Congress declared Aug. 26 as Women's Equality Day in 1971. However, as the report points out, only a quarter of legislators today are women.