PA ranks among worst states for gender equality

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In matters of politics and business, it appears the glass ceiling is still intact for Pennsylvania’s women.

With its high gender income inequality and poor representation in government, Pennsylvania has been ranked the fourth-worst state in the nation for women, according to a study conductedby WalletHub.

Analysts compared three key metrics in determining each state’s rank: workplace environment, education and political empowerment.

In the first metric, Pennsylvania ranked 46th for its high disparity of employees in executive positions by gender, gap in number of minimum-wage workers and gap in number of entrepreneurs by gender. Women also seem to work longer hours than men.However, there’s no difference between men and women in unemployment rate.

The commonwealth ranked 34th in education, where fewer women than men receive bachelor’s or higher degrees, and women score lower on math tests than men.

And in political empowerment, Pennsylvania is notoriously behind, though the 2016 election hopes to shake that up.

There’s a 77 percent disparity rate of lawmakers in state legislature, and a 55 percent disparity rate in state-elected executives.

No woman has ever held a governorship in Pennsylvania, nor represented the state in the Senate.

In fact, women only represent about 18 percent of the state Legislature, according to the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politicsat Chatham University.

According to Kathy Ferguson, a professor in the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Hawaii, women’s disparate involvement in politics is a “two-part whammy.”

“[Women] continue to bear most of the responsibility in their families for the unpaid labor of child care, elder care, domestic work … and the emotional labor of relationships; while they are paid less than men for the work they do in the paid labor force,” Ferguson, chair of the university’s Department of Political Sciences Department, said.

Both of the nation’s noncontiguous states ranked highest in WalletHub’s study: Hawaii was deemedthe best state for for women’s equality and Alaska camein at No. 2.

This study comes just days ahead of Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26, a date selected to commemorate the 19th Amendment’s incorporation into the Constitution and continue awareness of efforts toward full gender equality.

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