Monday, August 29, 2016
JACKSON In honor of Women's Equality Day last Friday, WalletHub released its "Best and Worst States for Women's Equality" study, which looked at education, workplace and political environments for women in all 50 states.
Mississippi women fared well enough (we're not last), and even tied for first place in educational attainment, which includes high school graduation rates and advanced degree attainment, for women overall. So why was our rank so low? Mississippi was ranked 44th overall because Mississippi women are still paid less in the workplace and unemployed at a rate much higher than men and are represented way less in the statehouse and in politics.
None of Mississippi's U.S. senators or representatives are women, and female state lawmakers make up a very small percentage of the statehouse overall. The WalletHub study ranked Mississippi 48th in "political empowerment."
Currently, nine of 52 state senators are women, and 14 of 122 representatives in the Mississippi House are women. Two representatives, Linda Coleman and Kimberly Campbell, left the statehouse this year, so for now at least women make up a little more than 13 percent of the Mississippi statehouse.
State Treasurer Lynn Fitch and Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith, both Republicans, are the only two state-elected female officials. The 2016 election cycle could slightly change the number of women on the state's supreme court, circuit court and the House of Representatives—but only slightly.
In the private sector, female-owned businesses in Mississippi have grown in number significantly in the past 20 years. A 2012 study found that the number female-owned businesses grew by 75 percent in the past 15 years in Mississippi (we ranked 4th in growth in that study). A February WalletHub study ranked Jackson, Mississippi 39th out of 100 cities that were best for women-owned businesses. Jackson ranked third on that list for "business-friendliness" for women looking to start a business. WalletHub's most recent study shows that while Mississippi looks promising for women-owned businesses, women already in the workplace will have to keep fighting for equal pay and representation at the executive's table.
Email reporter Arielle Dreher at [email protected].
More like this story
- Mississippi, Time for More Women in Office
- Mississippi Worst State for Women, Study Finds
- WalletHub Study: Mississippi Has 'Worst State Economy,' ALEC Says Economic Outlook Hopeful
- Report: Mississippi Among Worst Bang for Tax Bucks
- Gambling in Mississippi: State in Top 5 for Addiction, First for Related Arrests