The Best States in America For Women

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By Kathleen Elkins

Turns out your geographic location plays a part in your financial and professional success - especially if you're a woman.

Things like the average income for women and the percentage of women working in managerial roles is far higher in some states than others.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research recently analyzed data from the US government, and released a report that provides state by state comparisons of women's earnings, as well as several compelling charts.One of the more fascinating charts of the report reveals the five best and worst states for women to work in.

The rankings were determined by an employment and earnings composite index, which was calculated based on four factors: median annual earnings for women who work full-time, the gender earnings ratio, women's labor force participation, and the percentage of employed women working in managerial or professional occupations.

Composite scores ranged from 3.43 to 5.33. Here's how the states measured up:

Institute for Women's Policy Research

The results can be largely explained by the overall structure of the economy, according to the director of the study Ariane Hegewisch. "Washington D.C. has a lot of good professional jobs that require a university education," she explains, "while in places like Idaho and West Virginia, the opportunities for professional managerial work are very limited."

One of the interesting factors that places West Virginia on the bottom of the list is the coal industry. Hegewisch tells us, "People who work in the coal industry are mainly men, and the earnings are much higher compared to the lower or middle skilled jobs than women can get."

On the flip side, one of the reasons Washington D.C. ranks so high is because it's a site of government employment. "There's more of an emphasis on transparency and equality when people are recruited," says Hegewisch.

Here's the full list of results (click to expand):
Institute for Women's Policy Research
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