The Top Ten Sexist Cities In AmericaMay 16, 2011 No Comments
Women have made great strides towards evening the playing field in education and the workplace, but we still can’t wave the equality flag when some places are noticing these changes more than others.
While it may be hard to measure sex equality, data has been extracted from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to create an index that can tell us something valuable about the situation for women across the United States.
Let’s start with the states high-scoring on equality (lowest numbers possible out of 100). The results are as follows:
|Metro Area||Sex Equality Index|
|Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.||8.1|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.||22.6|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.||24.8|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wisc.||25.1|
This means that out of all cities in the United States, Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C. is the best representation of equality. Overall, in the United States women get paid 77 cents on every dollar that men make, but in terms of employment, earnings, education and job diversity, women in Durham-Chapel Hill are the closest to balancing the sex scale.
Let’s look at the numbers. National figures say 54 percent of women are earning Master’s degrees and 39 percent are earning professional degrees. However, in Durham, we’re looking at 60 and 46 percent. Even more promising is the facts revealed on women’s earnings. Women are seriously slimming the wage gap, with median earnings at 88 percent of their male counterparts. Good news indeed.
Before we get too into the good news, we must look at the downside of the data. We can celebrate Durham’s progress, but we really need to look into the cities that lag in terms of equality. The comparison reveals a significant gap in gender equality, as you can see below:
|Metro Area||Sex Equality Index|
|Beaumont-Port Arthur, Tex.||71.7|
|Corpus Christi, Tex.||70.8|
The difference between Durham and Provo-Orem, Utah, is no less than massive. Michele Leber, Chair of the National Committee on Pay Equity, attributes difference in race to this gaping hole in sex equality. She says this is evident in the large Hispanic population in places like Texas, where “Latinas earn 58 cents to the dollar of all men.”
If there’s such a difference within states, it’s obvious that the results found are just a microcosm of the larger world picture. This is just a small snapshot of a larger problem of gender equality across the lines of education, wage, professional positions, experience and race.
It’s also a snapshot that doesn’t explain the whole inequality scene. In determining the index figure, researchers wouldn’t have taken into account differences in promotions between men and women, parental leave and other factors such as availability and cost of education. Women in Utah, Texas, Alabama, Illinois and West Virginia may not have the same opportunities as women in North Carolina, Florida, California and Wisconsin. Various factors like roles, expectations and general quality of life could be at play here.
Lessening the gap between men and women has to go hand-in-hand with slimming the elastic gap that exists between the states (where it’s wider in some and smaller in others), decreasing the large gap that exists between women of different races and examining the sex equality dilemma on a worldwide scale.
The disparity between the two charts shows why the “topic of sex equality in America retains a constant place in the national discourse.” Maybe if we keep the discussion wide open it will have the opposite effect as it works to shrink the equality gap.
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