15 best, worst states for working women in 2021

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The top three states and territories to work in for women are Oregon, California and New York, while the worst state was North Carolina, according to an August ranking by Oxfam America.

Oxfam America is an organization that analyzes and fights poverty globally. For its study, Oxfam looked at three categories: wages (20 percent of overall score), worker protections (60 percent) and the right to organize (20 percent). 

Some insights into the rankings and scores: 

  • The study looked at laws each state had in place that protect workers who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The study also looked at mandates for paid family and sick leave, equal pay, and protections against sexual harassment.
  • For wage policies, the study considered the ratio of the tipped minimum wage to the cost of living for one earner and two dependents. 
  • More than 75 percent of teachers are women. Oxfam analyzed policies affecting public school teachers and their right to unionize.
  • Just 24 states and Washington, D.C., require private employers to make accommodations for pregnant workers and give women the right to pump at work.
  • Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and North Carolina have no laws protecting employees from sexual harassment.

Below are the 15 best and worst states to work in for women and the overall rank of each state, along with its total score, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. To view the full ranking, click here.

Best states and territories:

1. Oregon — 95.36
2. California — 89.17
3. New York — 83.97
4. Washington — 80
5. Connecticut — 76.98
6. Massachusetts — 76.89
7. New Jersey — 75.02
8. Hawaii — 72.58
9. Nevada — 71.27
10. Colorado — 71.12
11. Puerto Rico — 69.1
12. Illinois — 68.02
13. Washington, D.C. — 67.8
14. Vermont — 63.98 
15. Maine — 62.26

Worst states:

38. Kansas — 33.91
39. Wisconsin — 33.9
40. Kentucky — 33.9
41. Utah — 33.74
42. Arizona — 32.55
43. Louisiana — 32.13
44. Arkansas — 29.93
45. West Virginia — 29.75
46. Wyoming — 23.98
47. South Carolina — 23.85
48. Texas — 13.92
49. Mississippi — 10.93
50. Alabama — 10.84
51. Georgia — 8.8
52. North Carolina — 3.6

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