Mapping Out the Wage Gap: What Are the Best States for Working Women?

Mapping Out the Wage Gap: What Are the Best States for Working Women?

If you’re a woman aspiring to earn as much as your male counterparts, you might want to give thought to moving outside the U.S., given that the average wage gap between men and women clocks in at 36%.

But if you’re looking to stay put, you may want to consider settling down in Washington, D.C.—and not just if you have political aspirations.


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According to a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, when it comes to pay parity, working women fare best in the nation's capital.

The report assigns a letter grade to each state (plus D.C.) based on four factors, including median wages for women, gender earnings ratios, the percentage of women in the workforce, and how many females hold higher-paying professional and managerial roles.

State-by-State Wage Gap Report Cards

In general, women are best positioned to make a fair wage in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Maryland scored highest of any state, followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York. Washington, D.C., was the only locale to nab an A.

As for the South, well it's a decidedly different story. Several states flat-out flunked the test—Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Idaho and West Virginia all received F’s.

And although pay parity improved in many states since the last report was released in 2004, the latest findings show that progress either stagnated or reversed in nearly half the country.

“When half the country is not seeing any gains in women’s employment and earnings, it is a concerning prospect for the nation’s economy as a whole,” said IWPR president Heidi Hartmann in a press release.

So can women ever expect to be on equal footing with men? Probably—but not anytime soon.

Researchers predict the wage gap will close in Florida by 2038. And that's good news compared to the situation for women in Wyoming, who won’t achieve equality until approximately 2159.

RELATED: 5 Things Job Candidates Obsess Over—But Hiring Managers Don’t


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