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Map: Where working women are most equal


How states rank when it comes to women’s equality in employment and earnings. Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research analysis of Census data. (IWPR)

The status of working women is strongest in the Northeast, the region home to many of the most-equal states by employment and earnings, according to a national analysis.

Massachusetts had the highest score among states, according to the analysis of four factors conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. (D.C. scored even higher, though many argue it is better compared to other cities.) All but four of the 10 highest-scoring states — Maryland, Minnesota, Colorado and Virginia — were in the Northeast. Sixteen states earned a B- or higher. West Virginia ranked dead last and, along with Alabama, received an F. The composite scores, excluding D.C., ranged from 68.5 to 90.5, on a hundred-point scale.

The four factors analyzed to develop the composite scores were: median annual earnings (for full-time, year-round women workers); the earnings ratio between men and women (again, for full-time, year-round women workers); the share of women in the workforce and the share of women in managerial or professional jobs.

Alaska and California are the only two states to have fallen from the top top 11 spots since 2006, the last time the group calculated the composite scores. They were replaced by New York and New Hampshire.

To calculate each state’s score, IWPR simply divided the value for each measure by the national average and added all four ratios together. To determine letter grades, the researchers compared each state’s composite score to an ideal — an America where women are equal to men on median earnings, wages, workforce participation and holding managerial and professional jobs.

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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