While substantial progress has occurred in the U.S. on women’s issues in recent years, some states are doing better than others – and according to one new study, Nevada is doing worst of all in a number of areas. WalletHub recently compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 15 key metrics related to the socio-economic well-being of women, as well as their health care and safety.
Nevada was ranked 49th for the economic and social well-being of women, 51st for health care and safety, and 49th overall. Compare that with the rankings of Nevada’s neighbors in the Mountain West:
New Mexico – 45th
Arizona – 36th
Wyoming – 32nd
Idaho – 30th
Utah – 25th
Colorado – 21st
Here’s how Nevada ranked in key areas that contributed to the low overall ranking:
34th — High school dropout rate for women
50th — Unemployment rate for women
29th — Median earnings for females (cost of living-adjusted)
27th — Percentage of women living in poverty
50th — Female uninsured rate
48th — Women’s preventive health care
34th — Women’s life expectancy at birth
43rd — Female homicide rate
Click through to the WalletHub study to see their study methodology.
In terms of policies that begin address these issues, Nevada has recently seen some progress. In 2013, the Nevada Legislature passed AB 284, a measure making it easier for women to flee domestic violence. In 2015, SB 175 sought, among other things, to make it more difficult for convicted domestic abusers to obtain firearms. New state-level investments in pre-K, literacy, and English as a Second Language programs look to increase student success, which will naturally include Nevada’s girls and young women in the years to come.
Still, it’s clear that much work remains. High-quality employment opportunities would close earnings gaps and reduce poverty while also addressing the top barrier for women seeking healthcare: affordability.
One opportunity lies in the targeted recruitment of women for education and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Testing and expanding initiatives to bring women into STEM jobs could cut Nevada’s gender pay gap and harness an underutilized workforce to meet the demands of tomorrow’s economy.
Additionally, the Nevada Women’s Business Center and/or similar organizations, such as Accion International, could seek to expand their micro-lending and business development programs, build robust public-private partnerships, and perhaps even launch a Women’s Small Business Accelerator similar to an Ohio pilot project.
In combination, these efforts would make Nevada an example of a community that empowers women to reach their full potential.