When personal finance analysts at WalletHub released their obligatory roundup of the nation's best and worst states in which to be female just in time for Women's Day this Sunday, we expected the usual distribution of prizes. Points to the East Coast where feminists have the abortion lobby by the balls, slaps on the wrist for the Deep South, where it also sucks to be black, gay, Muslim, or a driver of a fuel efficient car.
Yet somehow this year, a Midwestern state with aspirations to secede in the North slipped into first place: Minnesota is the best place in the country to be a woman.
WalletHub crunched a swath of criteria that matter most to ladies: paychecks, diplomas, health insurance, and fissures in the glass ceiling.
Minnesota didn't earn first place in any one category, but it scored consistently high across the board. The feminine experience here is as good as it's gonna get, and that's partially because Minnesota as a whole is lot less shitty of a state than the ones that occupy the bottom rungs of this WalletHub study -- Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, where overall poverty rates soar above 15 percent.
But what vaulted Minnesota over the more competitive Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maryland was our penchant for electing women into positions of power, keeping the teens in school, and making sure the infants get the quality of healthcare that would maximize their chances of surviving the first year of life.
Minnesota's lady voters are surprisingly tenacious too -- they ranked fourth in the nation for ballots cast in the last presidential election even though Minnesota can't even pretend to be a swing state.
Still, for all our progress Minnesota falls short of being that type of utopian penguin society wherein the men nest eggs while the women go fishing. Elizabeth Gorman, professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, blames it on the stalled revolution in the home. In addition to smashing the patriarchy in the workplace, she wants to know how women can encourage their dudes to start churning the butter too.
"Despite the fact that for most families, an adequate standard of living requires two earners, women are still doing the lion's share of housework and childcare," Gorman says. "While women have stepped into the workplace, men have not stepped up at home."
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