Words & Deeds

Idaho is one of the worst states for women, study shows. Here’s why.

The friendliest state for a female? That would be Minnesota.

The most galling places for gals? Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.

At eighth worst in the nation, Idaho is down with the Deep South in a ranking of “2019’s Best & Worst States for Women.” The study, conducted by finance website WalletHub, measures 24 metrics such as median earnings, suicide rate — even stalking victimization. All 50 states and the District of Columbia are included.

The good news? Idaho is improving. In 2018, it was rated the second-worst state for women by WalletHub. (Utah, the worst in 2018, somehow zoomed up 21 spots this year.)

The bad news? Idaho is a card-carrying member of the Women-Unfriendly Hall of Shame. The Gem State finished at No. 51, worst in the nation, for women’s preventive health care. Another disturbing statistic? The prevalence of stalking victimization among Idaho women is 20.3 percent, for a 48th-place finish.

Here is a sample of other categories where the Gem State rates worse than average. (On WalletHub’s woman-friendliness scale, 1 equals best, 25 equals average, 51 equals worst.)

Median earnings for female workers (adjusted for cost of living) — 46th

Share of women in poverty — 28th

Share of women-owned businesses — 50th

High school graduation rate for women — 31st

Share of women who voted in 2016 presidential election — 33rd

Female uninsured rate — 44th

Suicide rate for women — 36th

Looking for bright spots? Reflecting our state’s passion for outdoor recreation, Idaho’s share of physically active women is 77.6 percent — eighth overall. And, hey, ladies, your paycheck might feel lame, but at least you’ve got one? Women’s job security ranks ninth and unemployment rate 14th.

Based purely on politics, Idaho’s overall ranking is no shocker. WalletHub’s study indicates that blue states are more women-friendly than red states. The average ranking for a blue state is 14.67. The average for a red state is 33.93.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.
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