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Hawaii ranks as top state for female equality, job opportunities

August 26th is Women Equality Day, and research shows that there still is a long way to go for equality in the workplace

While fair pay and equal opportunity for women in a professional sense is top-of-mind for many in the U.S. these days, heartening news infrequently trickles in, considering the United States ranks 23rd on the Global Gender Gap Index conducted by the World Economic Forum. While women’s pay is one of many factors when considering the narrowing of the gender gap, studies have examined which states are better serving of women in the professional sphere, and which provide more opportunity, and see more women thrive. WalletHub recently conducted a state-by-state study that looks at salary inequities, and executive leadership by state to find which states in the U.S. have made more progress in career-based equality.

The group found that Hawaii holds the number one overall rank for gender equality with an averaging of number three in workplace environment rank, number six in education and health rank, and number two in political empowerment rank. (Nevada ranks number one for workplace environment, Mississippi for education and health, and New Hampshire for political empowerment.)

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WalletHub’s report states: “In observance of Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26, WalletHub crunched the numbers to gauge the scope of gender-based disparities in each of the 50 U.S. states. We did so by examining 10 key metrics, ranging from the gap in the number of female and male executives to the disparity between women’s and men’s life expectancy to the imbalance of their political representation. By highlighting the most and least gender-egalitarian states, we hope to accomplish three goals: help women find the best career opportunities, empower them to keep fighting for their rights and encourage states to learn from one another. 

The workplace experiences one of the most polarized ranges of gender imbalance out of all of the analyzed categories. Women are far from obtaining even close to an equal playing field in executive positions; the Center for American Progress reported this year that women are only 14.6 percent of executives, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO’s. While more women are now holding positions in the workforces of financial and healthcare markets, they are grossly underrepresented in positions of leadership still.

Some industries are expected to see growth, despite these depressing numbers. The inside counsel area is purported to expect a jump in female applicants. Experts have predicted that a major shift in women candidates for vacancies in higher-up positions in law firms will flesh out as the year wanes. Perhaps the ambition gap is closing slowly but surely in some of these traditionally lucrative sectors.

Contributing Author

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Juliana Kenny

Juliana Kenny is a contributor to InsideCounsel.com, covering a range of topics including patent litigation, conflict mineral laws, executive compensation, and antitrust regulation. Juliana earned B.A.s...

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