The Best and Worst States to Be a Woman

Introducing the U.S. Women, Peace and Security Index

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Highest & Lowest Ranking States

Best States

Massachusetts Best State .709
Connecticut 2nd Best State .696
District of Columbia 3rd Best State .695

Worst States

Arkansas 3rd Worst State .231
Mississippi 2nd Worst State .182
Louisiana Worst State .167

How Does Your State Rank on Women’s Rights & Opportunities?

Georgetown's US Index provides the most comprehensive measurement of women’s rights and opportunities in America. Our research reveals vast differences across the country, with Massachusetts scoring almost four times better than Louisiana. There are clear regional patterns – as well as important variations within regions.

Women Face Serious Inequalities and Injustices in America

The US Index captures how women's rights and opportunities vary based on their race; examines how women's legal protections vary by state; and reveals enormous deficits in lagging states.

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Racial Disparities Among Women

Gender inequalities are compounded by racial injustice. Between Black and white women, gaps are most marked in college completion, state legislative representation, and maternal mortality. One of many striking facts: in New Jersey, maternal mortality rates for Black women are almost quadruple those for white women.

Racial Disparities
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Missing Legal Protections

Women’s status varies across state lines–especially their legal protections. The state in which a woman lives determines her ability to file a workplace sexual harassment claim, her level of protection from an abusive partner, whether she can take paid time off for caregiving, and more. No state offers full legal protections of the set of women’s rights identified as most critical; 6 states offer none.

Legal Protections
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Key Gender Gaps

The largest disadvantages for women relative to men are in state legislative representation, community safety, and employment. For gun deaths and college education, men are worse off.

Gender Gaps
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National Geographic Features Our Research

We’re proud to be featured in National Geographic Magazine. Visit National Geographic’s website to see their stunning visualizations of our data.

Americans care about gender equality

A survey commissioned for the report by YouGov and PerryUndem finds a solid majority of American’s support gender equality, including reproductive rights, equal pay, parental leave, and affordable child care.

4 in 5 adults believe that it is important for elected officials to work on issues affecting gender equality.

2 in 3 adults believe that the country would be better off with more women in political office.

View Survey Results

The good old boy system: it is real and it is still active in Louisiana… The decisions that are being made are not in our interest. They are not taking our needs into account.”

Dianna Payton, CEO of YWCA Greater Baton Rouge

Dianna Payton, CEO of YWCA Greater Baton Rouge
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The Time For Change is Now

Use our index to spotlight state-level achievements—and injustices. Let’s make every state a great state for women.