How are Status of Women Rankings Determined?
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research ranks the status of women in all 50 states based on seven measures. Our work directly impacts Tennessee’s score in each of these areas, which means our progress will be real and measurable as we move Tennessee from 49 to One.
The equal participation of women in politics is essential to building communities where both men and women can thrive. While women are a powerful part of the electorate, and they inform policymaking, they are underrepresented in governments across the country. A state's political participation score evaluates four measures: voter registration, voter turnout, representation in office, and institutional resources.
Employment & Earnings
Gender equality at work remains elusive: women who work full-time, year-round earn only 78 cents on the dollar compared to men. Little progress has been made in the last 10 years to close the gap. The Employment & Earnings score ranking for each state is based on women’s annual earnings; the gender earnings ratio; women’s labor participation; and the percent of women employed in managerial or professional occupations.
Work & Family
Women make up almost half of the workforce but are also the large majority of family caregivers. Many women lack access to basic supports, like sick days and job-protected paid parental leave. The Work & Family score takes into account paid leave, dependent and elder care, child care, and the gender gap in labor force.
Poverty & Opportunity
Even with access to education, health care and business networks, many women struggle to achieve financial security. Poverty & Opportunity scores are determined by four indicators: health insurance coverage, college education, business ownership, and the poverty rate.
Limitations to women’s reproductive rights have increased across the nation in recent years, making it harder for women to access heath services and information that they need. Reproductive rights scores are based on the presence or absence of sex education, access to affordable birth control, adoption laws, coverage of infertility treatments, and family planning.
Health and Well-being
Poor health poses obstacles to women’s financial stability, educational attainment, and employment. Health & Well-Being is ranked based on nine indicators, including mortality rates from heart disease and breast cancer; incidence of diabetes and AIDS; and suicide mortality rates.
Violence and Safety
Threats to women’s safety profoundly affect their economic security, health and overall well-being. This metric includes incidence of domestic violence, rape, stalking and workplace harassment.
Think we can’t get to #1?
We’ve done it before.
We worked for three years to strengthen laws against human trafficking, and during that time, Tennessee moved from unranked to #1 in the country in anti-trafficking legislation.
We utilized the five indicators of social change to combat human trafficking, and we’ll do it again to improve the status of women in our state:
1. Shift in Definition: We help our community redefine an issue or problem.
2. Shift in Behavior: We inspire new actions, new behaviors or increased awareness.
3. Shift in Engagement: We identify, unite and engage people and partners across the state.
4. Shift in Policy: We advocate for new policies and legislation.
5. Maintaining Past Gains: We don’t stop when we reach #1.