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Updated: August 29, 2023

Maine ranks No. 3 for women's equality in nationwide study

WalletHub map graphic Graphic / WalletHub In a WalletHub ranking of the Best and Worst States for Women's Equality, Maine is No. 3.

A national ranking of the best and worst states for women's equality puts Maine at No. 3 overall and No. 1 for political empowerment.

The report, by personal finance website WalletHub, compared the 50 states across 17 key indicators of gender equality. For ranking purposes, researchers looked at factors including the gap between female and male executives and the disparity in unemployment rates for women and men.

Hawaii topped the overall list, followed by Alaska and then the Pine Tree State. Among other New England states, Vermont was No. 5, Massachusetts was No. 12, Rhode Island was No. 18, Connecticut was No. 23 and New Hampshire was No. 28.

Katie Shorey, president of Startup Maine and director of engagement at Live + Work in Maine. welcomed Maine's strong showing in the WalletHub barometer.

“For decades, Maine has led the way when it comes to women in leadership — both in business and in politics,” Shorey said, also pointing to Maine's No. 7 ranking in top executive roles by U.S. News & World Report. She also noted the large number of accomplished women in Gov. Janet Mills’s cabinet.

“This type of role modeling is critically important for young girls because you can't be what you can't see,” Shorey told Mainebiz. “The fight for equality is far from done, but I'm proud to be from a state where many women have paved the way for people like me."

Dania Bowie, development and communications coordinator at the Maine Women’s Lobby, said, “It is not a surprise that Maine ranks high on this list, and I believe that is in some part due to our exceptional reproductive rights laws as well as our high rate of civic participation in the Maine Legislature by fantastic women changemakers.”

She added that “our state has women working hard at every level of government to improve gender inequity and we know that caregiving work, which are women-dominated industries such as child care and direct health care workers, keeps our economy and our families healthy. Still, all Maine working women still only make 84 cents to a dollar. Just because we rank well compared to other states does not mean we have achieved parity in our system.”

More on WalletHub 

Maine's No. 1 ranking for political empowerment by WalletHub, based on the disparity between male and female lawmakers on Capitol Hill, in the state Legislature and among state-elected executives, eclipses the state's No. 3 showing for workplace environment and No. 30 spot for education and health.

The workplace environment score was based on disparities between men and women in areas including income, the share of executive positions and economic security.

Rhode Island was found to have the smallest income gap between men and women, while West Virginia had the largest income gap, followed by New Hampshire.

Findings were released just ahead of Women's Equality Day on Aug. 26, commemorating the anniversary of women's suffrage in the U.S. after the adoption of the 19th Amendment.

"Women's rights in the U.S. have made leaps and bounds since the passage of the 19th Amendment, yet many women still struggle to break the glass ceiling because of unequal treatment in society," WalletHub researchers noted in the report. "Unfortunately, the gender gap in 21st century America has only expanded."

Find the full rankings and report here.

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