Last updated: August 26. 2014 5:28PM - 261 Views
By - cvincent@civitasmedia.com

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ELIZABETHTOWN — In the 94 years since the passage of the 19th Amendment in August 1920, which gave women the right to vote and became known as women’s suffrage, the United States has made leaps and bounds in the area of women’s right. Yet the country still ranks No. 23 in the world when it comes to the specific global gender gap index.

And in North Carolina, the state ranks No. 22 overall in the country when gauging specific guidelines.

Tuesday was celebrated in the United States as Women’s Equality Day, though not much hoopla was observed for the day. But researchers with WalletHub, a leading personal finance social network, took the opportunity to conduct an in-depth analysis of the and compile the year’s best and worst states for women’s equality.

First, however, a couple of Bladen County women who have achieved success and attained higher career positions weighed in on women’s equality and how it has affected them along the way.

“As mayor (of Elizabethtown), I am happy to say that I have always felt like I was treated equally with my male counterparts,” said Sylvia Campbell. “When we are involved in meetings, it never seemed to make a difference to them that I am female — and certainly not to me. I have always treated others with the respect that I, myself, wanted … and so I am blessed that I have never felt discriminated against in the least.

“I really do feel appreciative and humbled by the respect I receive,” she added. “For the past 18 years, I was the only female on the board, and I can truly say I never felt any different from the guys.”

Patty Evers, athletics director for East Bladen High, as well as the school’s varsity girls basketball and softball coach, said she has experienced a similar reaction during her career.

“I don’t think I have had any problem or been excluded because of my gender for advancement in athletics,” she said. “It has been the norm in the past for ADs to be men — however, when I was asked if I wanted the job, it was because of my knowledge in sports and my organizational skills. At times, I am sure it does happen throughout different areas, but I don’t think it is like that here. There are now female ADs in college and I think we will see more of that in the near future.”

Evers is the only female high-school athletics director in the southeast region of North Carolina, but she hopes to see that change along the way.

“Hopefully, the best people are put in higher positions because of the work that they do, not for underlying reasons,” she added.

Such isn’t always the case throughout the state or country, however. North Carolina, which ranks No. 22 overall in the country when it comes to women’s equality, ranks No. 27 in the area of workplace environment, No. 24 in political empowerment and No. 9 in education and health.

To gauge the scope of gender-based disparities in the country, WalletHub ranked each state based on 10 key areas — ranging from the gap in male versus female executives, to the disparity between men’s and women’s life expectancy, to the imbalance of political representation.

According to WalletHub researchers, the top five overall states for women’s equality are Hawaii (No. 1), New York, Maryland, Maine and Nevada; the bottom five states are Wyoming (No. 50), Utah, Idaho, Texas and Indiana. The rankings of states in the region are: South Carolina, No. 30 overall; Virginia, No. 43 overall; and Tennessee, No. 20 overall.

WalletHub also offered the following findings:

— In every state, male executives outnumber female executives. Utah has the highest gap, with 73.48 percent more males. Alabama has the lowest, with 25.5

— In every state, women earn less than men. Arizona has the lowest pay gap, with women earning just 13.2 percent less. Wyoming has the highest, with women earning 34.5 percent less.

— Men have longer average workdays than women. North Dakota has the highest gap, with men working 19.4 percent longer. Nevada has the lowest, with men working 9 percent longer.

— Utah has the highest education gap favoring men, with 15.49 percent more men having a bachelor’s degree. Mississippi has the highest education gap favoring women, with 25.26 percent more women having a bachelor’s degree. The most balanced state is Colorado.

— In almost every state, women represent the highest percentage of minimum-wage workers. West Virginia has the highest gap, with 60 percent more females. Alaska, Kansas, Hawaii and Nevada have an equal ratio of women and men who earn minimum wage.

— The unemployment rate is equal for men and women in Arizona, Arkansas and California. West Virginia has the highest gap favoring women, with 2.8 percent more unemployed men. Georgia has the highest gap favoring men, with 1.5 percent more unemployed women.

— In every state, women have a higher life expectancy than men at age 65. Mississippi has the highest gap, with women living 20.25 percent longer. Utah has the lowest, with women living 9.52 percent longer.

— In every State Legislature, there are more male than female lawmakers. Louisiana has the highest gap, with 85.7 percent more males. Colorado has the lowest, with 30.5 percent more males.

For the full report and to see where your state ranks, go online tohttp://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-states-for-women-equality/5835/

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