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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Is Washington Good for Women?

Sorry Washington. The overall best state for women’s rights is Maine.

That’s according to a study released this week to mark the 99th anniversary of the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the vote (at least giving it to white privileged women).

Washington State early on embraced women’s rights, approving (after a lot of back and forth) the vote for women in 1910, a decade before passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

I moved here from Virginia which has never elected a woman governor or sent a women to the U.S. Senate. Now my two U.S. Senators are women and the governor’s office in Olympia has twice been occupied by women. Thanks to the electoral success of its women, Washington ranks No. 3 in this study for “political empowerment.” 

But the rest of the state’s record for women isn’t as stellar as I’d expected. The state ranks 41 for “workplace environment” and 40 for “education & health” and ends up with an overall rank of 22 in this study. 

Nevada, with its first-ever majority women legislature, came in No. 1 for “political empowerment.” Hawaii ranked first for “education & health” and New Mexico led the way for “workplace environment.”

The study was produced by WalletHub and its methodology is shared on the site. But how could West Virginia end up with an overall rank of 6? I’m not enough of an expert on research methodology to quibble with this study’s results, but I can’t quite accept that West Virginia is three times better than Washington when it comes to women’s equality.

Linda Kramer Jenning
Linda Kramer Jenning is an independent journalist who moved to Bainbridge Island after several decades reporting from Washington, D.C. She taught journalism at Georgetown University and is former Washington editor of Glamour.

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