Report Ranks Pa. 23rd Among States, Gives It C+ Grade, for Status of Women

Stephen Herzenberg |

A new report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the status of women in six different categories: poverty and opportunity, work and family, violence and safety, reproductive rights, health and well-being, and political participation.  Minnesota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont scored highest overall.

Pennsylvania received an overall ranking of 23 in the nation and an overall C+ grade.  The commonwealth fared poorly on several measures of the status of women: Work & family and political participation were the two worst categories.

Some key findings:

  • Pennsylvania women only earn, on average, 76 cents for every dollar a man earns, which is the 11th worst gender wage gap in the nation.  At the current rate, they will not receive equal pay until the year 2072.
  • 32.1% of employed Pennsylvania women work in low-wage jobs, and few (27%) own businesses compared to men (56.3%).
  • Almost half of women living in the commonwealth — 47% — do not live in a county with an abortion provider.
  • Pennsylvania ranked 48th for number of women serving in elected office, better only than Georgia and Louisiana.

However, Pennsylvania ranked highly on a few measures of women’s status.

  • The state ranked 9th best on the Paid Leave Legislation Index and 11th best on the Women Institutional Resources Index.
  • Fewer women in Pennsylvania live below the poverty level than in all but 14 states, with 86.5% of women and 89.3% of men living above the poverty level.
  • Pennsylvania ranked 9th best in healthcare coverage.  The vast majority of residents, 88% of women and 83.7% of men, have health insurance.