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Best and Worst States for working women 2022

Working women are facing extraordinary challenges in the US today. But it’s not the same for everyone: from one state to the next, policies around wages, protections, and rights vary dramatically.

This map illustrates those disparities and points the way for states to do better for working women and their families.



All data is based on laws and policies in effect as of July 1, 2022.

The index is based on state policies in three dimensions: wages (20% of overall score); worker protections (60% of overall score); and rights to organize (20% of overall score).

View full spreadsheets of the data.

Wage policies

This dimension considers whether the state has raised the tipped minimum wage above the federal minimum of $2.13; women make up the vast majority of the tipped workforce.

  • What is the ratio of the tipped minimum wage to cost of living for one earner and two dependents?

Worker protection policies

This dimension considers policies affecting quality of life for working women, especially mothers. Among the data points in this dimension:

  • Protections for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • Mandates for equal pay, pay secrecy, and no salary history.
  • Mandates for paid family and sick leave.
  • Protections around flexible scheduling, reporting pay, split shift pay, advance notice.
  • Protections against sexual harassment.
  • Extension of workers’ rights and protections to domestic workers (a federally excluded labor group).

Right to organize policies

This dimension considers policies affecting public school teachers, more than three quarters of whom are women.

  • Right to organize for public school teachers. Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+