The 5 Worst States For Women's Equality

Mahsa Amini's death while in police custody In Iran for "violating" Iranian women's strict dress code led many women in the country and around the world to cut their hair in solidarity to show support for women's equal rights (via Time). Hair is a symbol of beauty required by the hijab law to be covered in many Islamic countries, including Iran. An unnamed Persian journalist told Euronews, "Cutting ones hair is a meaningful form of protest." Cutting your hair in Iran symbolizes mourning and a way of standing up for oneself, and many countries have a long way to go regarding gender equality.

For most of history, women have been treated as second-class citizens. Though the United States is considered the land of dreams and opportunities, there is significant inequality among genders. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2022, the U.S. stands at number 27, with Iceland topping the charts. Regarding the workplace, women only make up 25.5% of Fortune 500 board seats, per the American Association of University Women.

It was shocking when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, taking away people's constitutional right to abortion by eliminating federal standards where states could make their own laws with restrictions. It's no surprise that the states that don't view women's reproductive rights as necessary are among the worst for women's equality regarding workplace environments, education and health, and political empowerment (via WalletHub). New Mexico is the best state for women's rights and here are the worst.

South Carolina

The fifth-worst state for women's equality in the country is South Carolina, per WalletHub. Considering the 50 states and comparing 17 indicators of gender equality under workplace environment, education and health, and political empowerment, South Carolina ranks at 47.

Among the five worst states, South Carolina is considered the worst in political empowerment as it stands at No. 48 (standing behind only Louisiana and Alabama) when you take the number of women members in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, State Legislators, and State-Level Executives. Rutgers reported that women only make up 17.1% of state legislatures in 2022 in South Carolina.

South Carolina isn't performing the best regarding workplace environment either, as it's the 45th best state in the country (out of 50) regarding income and higher income disparity, share in executive positions, and minimum wage workers compared to men. And when it comes to health and education, it is the 28th best state. It does fare slightly better than the workplace and political environment. However, regarding reproductive rights, it's among the 10 states in the country where the state's Supreme Court has placed a temporary block to ban abortion past six weeks for now, per The New York Times. Considering all 17 metrics, South Carolina scored 47.48 out of 100 for women's equality.


At No. 4, we have Oklahoma with a total score of 46.09 out of 100, comparing all 17 key indicators to measure women's equality across workplace environment, education and health, and political empowerment (via WalletHub).

Oklahoma isn't fairing so well when it comes to education and health, as it's the 48th worst state in the country where there is a complete ban on abortion from the point of fertilization (via The New York Times). At the moment, there is no news of their Supreme Court doing anything to block the ban.

There has also been a significant decline in education funding in the state as well. Katherine Bishop, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, told KTUL, "We're 47th in the nation on what we spend per pupil funding, what we spend on students in the classroom."

Per WalletHub, it stands at No. 37 as the best state for political empowerment, so it is pretty low there too. According to Rutgers, 20.8 % of Oklahoma's state legislatures are women. Regarding the workplace environment, Oklahoma ranks a bit higher at No. 25, but the combined points with education and health along with the political empowerment aspect of the state ranks it among the worst states in the country for women's equality.


Taking the bronze medal as the worst state for women's equality is Idaho. According to WalletHub, Idaho scores 44.18 out of 100 among the 50 states. Regarding health and education, it is the 47th-best state in the country, which is not great.

According to the most recent updates on reproductive rights, almost all abortion is illegal in Idaho (via The New York Times). However, thanks to one federal judge, doctors can no longer go to jail for helping a person with an abortion if it were to save their life. The ban is currently challenged by the Department of Justice and abortion advocates, but time will tell.

Regarding education, Idaho came in last place in the country where they spend less than $10,000 on a student, per Census Bureau. The state of Idaho does have funding, but it is not investing it in children's education, and district officials and teachers are fighting for it every day (via Idaho Education News).

WalletHub reports that Idaho stands at No. 43 regarding workplace environment, with it being the fourth worst state for income gap between men and women, and No. 34 for political empowerment. These areas need significant improvement if Idaho were to bridge the considerable gap between genders in the state.


The second worst state for women's equality is Georgia. As of October 2022, 13 states have banned abortion, with Georgia banning abortion after 22 weeks. However, the state attorney general's office wants to appeal a ruling that blocked a ban on abortion after six weeks, when most people don't even know they're pregnant, per The New York Times. Judges in 10 other states have blocked the same ban for now, but time will tell what the fate of those states will be.

Regarding health and education, Georgia stands at No. 44 (via WalletHub). The U.S. Public Education Spending Statistics show that the state stands at No. 34 in spending ($11,203 per student) and No. 36 in funding for K-12 education, per Education Data. That is less than the average spending per pupil in the country.

With a total score of 43.99, it stands at No. 42 for political empowerment and 48 for the workplace environment. The International Labour Organization (ILO) reported that women make an average of 36.2% less than men, so there is a significant discrepancy in average wages based on gender.

As a state, Georgia ranks at No. 20 for the total number of women in state legislatures, with women representing 33.9% of the whole senate, per Rutgers. Considering all the key metrics, Georgia has a long way to go for women's equality, but there is still one state where it's worse.


According to WalletHub, Utah is the worst state for women's equality. Considering all 17 critical indicators across health and education, work environment, and political empowerment, Utah scores 31.22 out of 100 and stands at No. 50 for education and health, 48 for the workplace environment, and 42 for political empowerment. Utah has the most significant income gap among genders, where women are the disadvantaged group and the state also has the most prominent position gap in executive roles.

The U.S. Public Education Spending Statistics reported that Utah's K-12 schools spend the least on their students ($7,951) and receive the least amount of federal funding (via Education Data). When it comes to reproductive rights, though, abortion is legal till 18 weeks and there has been a temporary block on the state's trigger ban on the majority of abortions by a judge, per The New York Times.

Per the Center for American Women and Politics data of 2022, Utah stands at No. 37 for the number of women in the state legislature, with 26% women. A study conducted by showed that women also make significantly less than men in this Mormon state, as it is the second state with the widest wage gap between men and women. Apparently, women earn an average of 69 cents per dollar made by a man.