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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ladies -- Which State Speaks Most to Your Needs?


 

Ladies, welcome. Have you ever wondered what state offered you the most? Where in the United States of America could you find the most equal opportunity?

It really doesn't matter, you say? Well, consider that even though women outnumber men in all but nine states today, research shows female social progress is severely lacking. Serious problems such as gender gaps, along with discrimination and violence against women continue to persist in the United States.

For instance, women represent nearly three-fifths of all minimum-wage workers. And, in the 19 states that refuse to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, women constitute the majority of poor, uninsured adults.
And, consider these employment statistics:

  • Women earn 78.3 cents for every dollar a man earns.
  • At the current rate, women will not receive equal pay until 2058.
    Millennial women experience depression 15.7 more days per year than Millennial men.
  • Men are 2.2 times more likely to work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) occupations than women. 
    (statusofwomen.org. Institute for Women's Policy Research.)
So ...

WalletHub – online, advice-oriented, personal finance tool whose homepage features endorsements by CNN Money, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and others – compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across key metrics that “speak to the needs and expectations of women in America.”

To do the research, WalletHub examined a wealth of data from “median earnings for female workers” to “women’s preventive health care” to “female uninsured rate” to “percentage of women living in poverty.”

In order to identify the best states for women, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, namely ...
  • “Women’s Economic & Social Well-Being” and
  • “Women’s Health Care & Safety.”
First, they compiled 15 relevant metrics. Each metric was given a value between 0 and 100, wherein 100 is the best value for that metric and 0 is the worst.

Then, they calculated the overall score for each state using the weighted average across all metrics and ranked them accordingly.

Data used to create these rankings were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Educational Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Violence Policy Center, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, the Social Science Research Council, U.S. News & World Report and WalletHub research.

The Results?

I want to present you with the results of the calculations. To do this, I have chosen the top state and five others at random. Given these six states, which state do you think is ranked as the best to “speak to the needs and expectations of women in America”?

Ohio, California, Minnesota, Hawaii, California, or Florida? 

 

The Winner

Here is the rank of these six states along with the state's total score:

#1 Minnesota 83.17
#10 Hawaii 71.47
#16 New York 65.38
#22 Ohio 61.26
#28 Florida 58.82
#39 California 52.72

Yep, Minnesota gave the world the Mayo Clinic, Prince, Bob Dylan, and a professional wrestler as governor, and according to WalletHub, the state also is the best place for women. Who knew?
The website also said that Minnesota ranked among the best states in terms of women’s life expectancy, women being insured, and the percentage of women who vote.

It also helped that Minnesota placed highly in recent analyzes of the best states for working moms and women's equality. Those reports were used as part of the metric for the “Best States” report.

(Richis Bernardo. “2016’s Best & Worst States for Women.” wallethub.com. February 29, 2016.)

And, Minnesota's stellar ranking is confirmed by other research findings.

The nonprofit Institute for Women’s Policy Research published two reports in a sprawling seven-part series exploring how women are faring in the states. The research confirmed that Minnesota was the best state for women. The “Status of Women in the States” series, an update on a set of reports from 2004, represents an ambitious attempt to quantify gender inequality in the states.

“The way politics are structured in the U.S., if you want to make an impact it helps if you have the data,” says Ariane Hegewisch, study director at IWPR. “So the purpose was to pull the data down to the state level at least to help people concerned about addressing gender issues to make their case.”
Each state and the District of Columbia received grades on seven broad topics, derived from dozens of metrics and touching on virtually all aspects of the public and private lives of women, from employment and earnings to economic opportunity to violence and safety to reproductive rights to health to political participation. In the end, Minnesota rose to the top of the rankings.

(Nirah Chokshi. “The best states for women in America, in 11 maps and charts.” The Washington Post. May 20, 2015.)

With input from a broad and diverse array of business and policy experts, official government sources, the CNBC Global CFO Council, and the states themselves, CNBC scored all 50 states on more than 60 measures of competitiveness. Minnesota was rated #1.

Here are some reasons for Minnesota's glowing standing:

Rather than just seeking the lowest taxes or the highest incentives, companies are increasingly chasing the largest supply of skilled, qualified workers. Minnesota has a great human resource.

Governor Mark Dayton pushed through a whopping $2.1 billion tax increase, primarily targeting smokers and wealthy people. Although Dayton did approve a $508 million middle-class tax cut in 2014, the rate for top earners remains among the highest in the nation, at 9.85 percent.

Minnesota now has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. And, no exodus of millionaires.

Dayton also proposed in 2015 to spend much of the state's budget surplus on education. The legislature approved an additional $500 million for education. Minnesota features some of the best-performing K–12 students in the nation. As of 2015, it has led the nation in average composite ACT scores nine years in a row, and 4th and 8th grade math and reading scores are among the best in the nation as well.

The quality of life in Minnesota is high, and there is plenty of clean air.

Crime there is lowjust 234 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013, the most recent full-year figures available.

Other top 10 finishes for the state in the CNBC study include fifth place in Economy, sixth place in Technology & Innovation and ninth place for Infrastructure.

(Scott Cohn. “Minnesota is 2015's Top State for Business.” CNBC. June 24, 2016.)

Congratulations to the ladies in Minnesota! You have made history.

Postscript

In honor of women in the North Star State, I will end this entry with the story of the earliest known female inhabitant of Minnesota.

The Pelican Rapids-Minnesota Woman is the name given to the skeletal remains of a woman thought to be 8,000 years old. The bones were found near Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, on June 16, 1931, during construction on U.S. Route 59.

The bones were brought to Dr. Albert Jenks at the University of Minnesota, who identified them as the bones of a woman who was 15 or 16 years old, but who had never borne children. The woman had two artifacts – a dagger made from an elk's horn and a conch shell pendant. The conch shell came from a snail species known as Busycon perversa, which had previously only been known to exist in Florida.

The site indicated that the woman had not been ritually buried, and there was a thin layer of broken clam or mussel shells over the body. This led to the hypothesis that the woman had drowned, either by breaking through the ice or by falling off a boat, and that her body had been covered in mud at the bottom of a glacial lake.

Before 1926, most scientists theorized that human beings had only appeared in America within the last couple of thousand years. The discovery of Minnesota Woman provided evidence that humans had been in America for many thousand years before that. Scientists now recognize the girl as a Paleo-Indian whose ancestors had come across the Bering land bridge during the Pleistocene Ice age. Radiocarbon dating places the age of the bones approximately 8,000 years ago, approximately 7890 ±70 BP or near the end of the Eastern Archaic period.

These skeletal remains were reburied in South Dakota on October 2, 1999 by Sioux tribes.



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