Connecticut ranked third best state for women

Connecticut is the third best state for women, according to an analysis by the University of Connecticut's quarterly magazine, The Connecticut Economy.

For its analysis, The Connecticut Economy created an index based on The Economist’s worldwide women’s economic opportunity (WEO) index, which determines the differential economic prospects for women across the globe.

In its national WEO index, The Connecticut Economy used nine variable components, grouped into do indicator categories, to determine the best and worst states for women.

Variable components indicating labor market conditions include:

  • Gender pay gap.
  • Prevalence of women in traditionally female occupations.
  • Maternity leave provisions.
  • Child care costs.
  • Education.

Variable components indicating legal and social environments include:

  • Equal Rights Amendment adoption.
  • Violence against women.
  • Adolescent fertility rates.
  • State legislative seats held by women.

The Connecticut Economy scaled its 50-state WEO index to a mean of zero and a standard deviation of one.

Connecticut received a WEO index score of 2.967.

The Connecticut Economy found that economic prospects for women are “brightest in the Northeast and along the West Coast, and dimmest in the South Central region of the country in states that straddle the Mississippi River.”

Vermont was ranked the No. 1 best state to be a woman, with a 3.874 WEO index, followed by New York, with a 3.236 WEO index.

Mississippi ranked last, with a WEO index of -3.929.

Labor market conditions

"The ratio between median annual earning of female and male workers, though unadjusted for differences in occupational choices, education, hours worked and other factors, is an oft-cited indicator of differential economic prospects for women," according to The Connecticut Economy, and "the proportion of women in traditionally female occupations "gauges the extent to which women maybe locked into stereotypical roles."

The average pay gap across all Connecticut municipalities averages 64%, according to the American Community Survey's five-year estimates of median earnings. In other words, women earn 64 cents for every dollar that men earn in the Nutmeg State.

According to The Connecticut Economy's findings, there is a 37.39% gender pay gap in Wilton, with $116,433 being the median earnings for men and $43,539 being the median earnings for women.

The lowest pay gap is found in Weston, at 26%, and the highest in Bloomfield, at 93%.

Other states outpace Connecticut when it comes to closing the pay gap and women taking on non-traditional work, according to The Connecticut Economy.

Maternity leave provisions and child care costs also contribute to the labor market conditions for women in each state.

"Generous maternity leave provisions and affordable child care costs likely ease the return of women tot he labor market after giving birth," according to The Connecticut Economy.

Connecticut’s maternity leave provisions earned the state a perfect score in The Connecticut Economy’s index, but when it comes to child care costs, Connecticut's high cost of living contributed to its "comparatively low score on affordable child care."

Education is another indicator of conditions women face in the workforce, due to its strong and positive correlation with "marketable skills, job opportunities and earnings," according to The Connecticut Economy.

With nearly 36% of Connecticut women, age 25 or older, holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, The Connecticut Economy deemed the Nutmeg State “an educational leader.”

Legal and social environments

The Connecticut Economy looked at each states' historical attitude toward women's rights in determining legal and social environments women face in each state.

Connecticut earned a perfect score in its “historical commitment to the Equal Rights Amendment,” which helped boost its legal and social standing and labor market conditions standing.

Violence against women was another index component, which, according to The Connecticut Economy, “not only takes a devastating toll on a personal level, it is also associated with negative economic outcomes.”

The index also includes adolescent fertility rates, which "are shown to be inversely related to economic opportunities," according to the report.

The proportion of state legislative seats held by women is the last variable included in the index, which, according to The Connecticut Economy, is an indicator of the progress women have made in securing positions of power in politics.

"Considering Connecticut's overall lead in women's opportunity," states The Connecticut Economy's report, "a surprisingly middling number of women hold seats in the General Assembly."

Read The Connecticut Economy's full report here.