Best & Worst States for Women in 2023

In 2023, women in some parts of America still get the short end of the stick — even as they outnumber men in most states, according to Jill Gonzalez, a spokesperson for WalletHub. For instance, women represent more than two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers in the U.S. Their political representation also suffers, as women make up nearly 51% of the U.S. population but only 24% of the Senate and 28% of the House of Representatives.

With March being Women’s History Month and women holding only around a quarter of the seats in Congress despite making up 51% of the population, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2023’s Best & Worst States for Women.

To identify the most women-friendly states, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 25 key metrics. The data set ranges from median earnings for female workers to women’s preventive health care to the female homicide rate.

Woman-Friendliness of California (1=Best, 25=Avg.):

  • 49th – Median Earnings for Female Workers (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
  • 40th – Unemployment Rate for Women
  • 28th – Share of Women in Poverty
  • 9th – Share of Women-Owned Businesses
  • 17th – High School Graduation Rate for Women
  • 34th – Share of Women Who Voted in 2020 Presidential Election
  • 23rd – Female Uninsured Rate
  • 2nd – Women’s Life Expectancy at Birth
  • 8th – Quality of Women’s Hospitals
  • 26th – Women’s Preventive Health Care

Expert Commentary
What factors, financial or otherwise, should women consider when choosing a state to live in?

“In considering what state to live in, women should consider many elements. First, consider the state’s education environment, which includes higher education attainment and opportunities, K-12 disparities…and the disparity in financial education and awareness at all levels. Second, consider the political and civic representation of women at all levels of society. Third, it is essential to look at safety and security elements throughout the state (i.e., domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination, and poverty/homelessness rates). Fourth, the health and well-being of women are important to consider, which includes health across the lifespan …as well as various elements around the home and family (unpaid care work and emotional load distributions, as well as levels of marriage equality). Finally, workplace environment and development are important as well.”
— Susan R. Madsen – Professor, Utah State University

“Financially, states differ considerably in terms of the gender wage gap, with women making as much as $0.93 on the dollar relative to men in Vermont, as little as $0.73 on the dollar in Louisiana, and $0.68 in Wyoming. Underneath this simple measure are other factors such as the mix of industries and occupations, as well as the social and political climate.”
— Stacey Jones – Associate Teaching Professor, Seattle University

What strategies have proven effective in encouraging more women to run for elected office?

“To understand strategies, we need to first identify the barriers. What we see consistently is that women often believe that they are not qualified to run for office, and also that they are not recruited to run. Strategies that combat these barriers include training programs that educate women about the political process so that they feel more empowered to run for office. Another strategy is to better train local political parties to nominate and recruit women for positions. With both of these strategies, women who may otherwise think that they are not qualified enough will receive the training that makes them feel more knowledgeable about the process, and an invitation to run for elected office validates that feeling of competence.”
— Bettina Spencer – Professor, Saint Mary’s College

“Data show that women are more likely to run for office when they are asked and encouraged to run. Party leaders, community leaders, and residents can actively seek out and encourage qualified women to run for office…Formal and informal mentors and sponsors are valuable for women when considering whether to run and serve. Former and current elected officials – both female and male – can make a difference by reaching out and mentoring women who are engaged in their communities and who decide to run for office…Supporting women candidates can help move the needle for women in politics. All political parties can do more in terms of actively recruiting and training female candidates to run for office. Parties can work closely with existing nonpartisan organizations that are already successfully providing these programs. In addition, providing financial support to female candidates is significant in helping them overcome some of the barriers of running…We must continue to encourage parents, teachers, coaches, leaders, and mentors to help girls and young women develop leadership skills and resilience by sharing examples of women who are serving in their communities and by providing leadership opportunities more generally for girls and young women.”
— Susan R. Madsen – Professor, Utah State University

For the full report, please visit:



Image Sources

  • Women: Shutterstock