On an individual level, there are a number of ways to determine the quality of life in a certain place: weather, proximity to family, ease of everyday life (how much parking there is, how close you are to a grocery store), air quality, and the local economy, just to name a few.
Then there are macro evaluations. MoveHub, an organization that helps people move abroad, recently evaluated all 50 states in the United States to determine the best place for women specifically to live. (Hat tip to GOOD for the tip.)
This is not unimportant, considering all the recent political changes that have or will have significant ramifications on women's lives.
The researchers took the following criteria into account for their rankings:
- Gender pay gap
- Political representation in the state legislature
- Equality in education
- Accessibility to health insurance
- Reproductive rights
- Number of incidents of violence against women in that state
Perhaps unsurprisingly, political representation was a bellwether when it came to overall quality of life for women in a particular state. Or, in MoveHub's words, "the quality of women's lives is somewhat determined by inequality in government."
This is particularly apparent in places like Oklahoma, where recent legislation blocks women from accessing public abortion funds. That state also wants to mandate that women seeking abortions have permission in writing from the fetus' father in order to have the procedure. It would be one of the only cases of a sentient adult requiring written consent from another adult to have a medical procedure.
MoveHub put Oklahoma at the very bottom of the list.
The rest of the worst five states:
- South Carolina
And the big winner? The highest-ranked state for a woman in the United States of America?
You'll recall that weather was not one of the factors evaluated for this. Rather, "[t]he Aloha state was the top performer when it came to women's health and well-being; only 6 percent of the female population do not have health insurance--one of the lowest figures across all 50 states." Hawaii also had the lowest per capita number of women murdered by men (a grim but important category).
The rest of the top five:
This brief list is worth taking a moment to consider.
While Vermont, with its liberal policies, may not be a surprise, Minnesota is an interesting addition to the list. Coming in third, it's worth noting that up-and-coming places like Minneapolis-Saint Paul are not just good for women--they're beautiful, affordable, and welcoming to entrepreneurs. They even host their own Startup Week.
So if you're a woman looking to make a change this year, consider saying aloha to the 50th state ... or the Twin Cities.