By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A nonpartisan research organization recently gave Wyoming a grade of “F” when it came to employment opportunities and earning potential for women in the state.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research published a report on Tuesday covering employment and earning data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.
The states were graded on four criteria: women’s earnings, the gender wage gap (the pay difference between men and women in the same position), women’s labor force participation and women’s representation in managerial and professional occupations. States received a letter grade ranging from “A” To “F” depending on their ranking for each criteria.
Wyoming saw a significant drop in its overall ranking between 2018 and 2019, going from a C-plus to an F, coming in 48th overall in the nation.
The report said Wyoming saw this drastic drop in part because it has the broadest wage gap in the country between men and women, with women earning 65.4% of what men do earn for doing the same job.
Other factors in the grade included a decline in women’s median annual earnings — $36,600 in 2019 compared to $40,000 in 2016 — a lack of progress made toward women’s labor force participation (only 59% of women in Wyoming were in the labor force) and the number of employed women in managerial/professional positions — 40.5%.
“The Employment and Earnings Index highlights the need to center women and families in economic programs and policymaking, particularly as the country transitions to recovery from the pandemic,” the report said.
The authors suggested policymakers, employers and advocates could focus on solutions such as establishing a national childcare system, improve job quality and labor standards and support women business owners, to name a few.
Only Washington, D.C. received an A grade, while seventeen states (including Colorado, Maryland and Virginia) received a B grade.
Wyoming was one of four states to receive an F, joining Alabama, Mississippi and West Virgina.
The authors noted that in 2019, more women were in the labor force more than ever before, the gender wage gap narrowed and women entered professional and managerial positions at growing rates.