workplace equality

Colorado is middle of the pack when it comes to women’s rights and equality, according to a report released today.

The report, “2018’s Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality,” by personal finance website WalletHub, compared 50 states across 16 key indicators of gender equality. Colorado came in at No. 23.

New York, Minnesota, Maine, Nevada and Hawai’i were rated the top five states for women’s rights, while Virginia, Arizona, Texas, Idaho and Utah had the worst rankings.

According to the report, Colorado ranks 9th in the “education and health” category, but comes close to having the nation’s worst ranking for workplace environment for women (No. 47 nationwide).

Other indicators in the study’s data set included income gap, unemployment-rate disparity, job security disparity, work hours gap, educational attainment gap, political representation gap and disparity in share of executive positions. For all metrics, researchers compared the differences between women and men.

Data were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Center for Educational Statistics, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Center for American Women & Politics.

- Advertisement -

Women in the United States are disproportionately underrepresented in leadership positions, according to the WalletHub website.

“Women make up more than 50 percent of the population,” the website said. “According to the American Association of University Women, women only constitute 25 percent of legislators and less than 29 percent of business executives.”

In 2017, the U.S. dropped from 45th to 49th position in the World Economic Forum’s ranking of 144 countries based on gender equality.

One of the primary variables that impacts both men’s and women’s pay is the number of years with their current employer, according to Rand Ressler, associate dean in the College of Business at Georgia Southern University.

“Due to childbearing, women are more likely to temporarily leave the labor force,” Ressler said in a release issued by WalletHub. “In so doing, women often lose the professional momentum that leads to promotions and raises. What’s interesting about this is that men who leave the labor force also suffer an earnings loss. But of course, it is women who leave the labor force more often due to childbearing and in some cases staying home a few years to raise small children.

What policies could narrow the gap?

“‘Temporal flexibility’ with respect to how workers’ time is allocated and how they are compensated would help,” Ressler said. “For example, pharmacists are usually paid on a per hour basis. As a result, though women may earn less in that industry than men, they earn nearly equal pay per hour worked.”