Expect to hear a lot this weekend about women's equality.
Saturday, August 26, is Women's Equality Day – and with it comes to the usual discussions about the gap in income, executive positions, work hours, and political representation between women and men.
"Women's rights in the U.S. have made leaps and bounds since the passage of the 19th Amendment," writes WalletHub's Richie Bernardo. "Yet many women still struggle to crack the proverbial glass ceiling because of their unequal treatment in society."
According to Bernardo, the gender gap in 21st century America has only expanded.
"In 2016, the U.S. failed to place in the top 10 – or even the top 40 – of the World Economic Forum's ranking of 144 countries based on gender equality," he continues. "In fact, the U.S. plummeted to 45th position from its previous rank of No. 28."
To determine where women receive the most equal treatment, WalletHub's analysts compared the 50 states across 15 key indicators of gender equality. The data set ranges from the gap between female and male executives to the disparity in unemployment rates for women and men.
According to WalletHub, the best states for women's equality are Hawaii, Nevada, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington; and Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Utah are the worst.
Whatever the case may be, Charlotte Hays of the Independent Women's Forum (IWF) says this is a study that shows what places in the world have passed laws that progressives like.
"It doesn't show you anything about the quality of life for women," Hays tells OneNewsNow. "Five out of the 14 experts associated with the WalletHub report are professors of women's and gender studies; and I urge you to keep this in mind, because women's and gender studies departments would have to fold their tents and go out of business if women were not found to being held back by our gender."
That's not to say IWF doesn't encourage qualified women to run for public office, she adds.
"But we don't think that the quality of life in the country for women depends on the percentage of women elected to office," Hays continues. "One of the gender studies professors – Sharon Sullivan, Professor of Theater and Chairperson of the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Washburn University – says, 'Women are highly respected in government in Rwanda.' But I'd like to note that the economy in Rwanda is a subsistence agriculture economy … so if you think women are doing better in Rwanda, gee whiz, move there and work in subsistence agriculture."
Hays adds that women have unprecedented opportunities today in the U.S. and should go out and seize them.
"The worst thing I think you can do is tell women, especially young women, that the deck is stacked against them, [that] there is all this prejudice they must confront," she says. "It's not true – and if something will hold women back, it's the idea that the deck is stacked against them.
"This study really promotes that idea and the underlying theme is we need more government programs … and I'm sure another underlying theme [of the study] is probably that we need more women's studies departments."