Financial analysis website WalletHub.com recently released its list of Best States for Women. Louisiana ranked dead last on the list and was named the “worst state for women.” There were many factors and metrics used in the study and Louisiana ranked low in some, and at the bottom in others.
Here are some of the metrics along with where Louisiana placed in the rankings against other states:
40th– Median Earnings for Female Workers (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
50th– Unemployment Rate for Women
50th– Share of Women in Poverty
38th– Share of Women-Owned Businesses
46th– High School Graduation Rate for Women
28th– Share of Women Who Voted in 2016 Presidential Election
37th– Female Uninsured Rate
46th– Women’s Life Expectancy at Birth
30th– Quality of Women’s Hospitals
The Beauregard Daily News and Leesville Daily Leader reached out to WalletHub and spoke with analyst Jill Gonzalez about what put Louisiana at the bottom of the list, and what can be done to help improve the lives of women.
Gonzalez noted that there are many factors where Louisiana simply does not have a friendly environment for women and their needs.
Gonzalez said: "The biggest factors holding Louisiana at the bottom of the list include the unemployment rate for women, the large share of women living in poverty, and the low high school graduation rate for women.”
According to the study, 21.4 percent of women in Louisiana are living in poverty, and the unemployment rate for women in the active workforce in Louisiana is 5.3 percent.WalletHub’s data also states that 78.4 percent of women in Louisiana graduate high school, which is one of the lowest percentages in the country.
It was also noted that poor health and well being for women in Louisiana drug the state to the bottom of the list as well. This included information about health care, diseases, and violence toward women.
“Louisiana's share of women with good health is one of the lowest in the country, as is the percentage of physically active women. As a direct consequence, the state has a large share of women who are obese, as well as low life expectancy for women. In terms of safety, the female homicide rate is one of the highest nationwide," Gonzalez said.
While all of these issues are complicated and seem difficult to fix. Gonzalez advised that individuals, businesses, and policymakers have a part to play in improving the lives of women in Louisiana.
"Some of Louisiana's problems are directly related to policies and legislation, while others are connected to businesses and individuals,” Gonzalez said. “For example, most things that have to do with women's unemployment or poverty rates, as well as friendliness towards working moms stem from legislation issues or business policies that don't promote fairness. On the other hand, individuals contribute to problems related to safety, or an unhealthy lifestyle."
She also gave advice as to what some solutions to these woes may be. Gonzalez said: "Potential solutions to the issues mentioned would be the existence of workplace fairness and equality, as well as encouraging women to stay in school and get a degree. Educating women on how to have a healthy lifestyle would also help improve their quality of life.
WalletHub’s study included data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Education Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Violence Policy Center, Council for Community and Economic Research, American Express OPEN, U.S. News & World Report, United Health Foundation, American Medical Association and WalletHub research. The complete list can be found on Wallethub.com.