|According to a new report by the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, Minnesota has become one of the best states for providing resources specific to women’s health concerns.
As the Duluth News Tribune describes it, “The research shows Minnesota is the best state for women, having made progress in key areas since 2004.”
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research is a nonprofit organization, Newsmax states, and researchers collected female-focused data on employment, pay rates, political participation, poverty, educational and professional opportunities, family responsibilities, and health.
Minnesota was ranked in the top 10 for the majority of these issues, and it even took the highest score for women’s health and well-being, primarily because of the state’s low rates of heart disease fatalities and diabetes among women.
The state dropped to 16th place concerning reproductive rights, however, which reflects poorly on the state but which is common for states across the country. In many cases, women have neither the resources nor the money to seek out procedures and preventative measures regarding sexual health, largely because reproductive rights are seen as controversial political topics rather than health issues.
For example, under 40% of sexually-active young women in the U.S. are tested for STIs and STDs like chlamydia, and many schools still abide by “Abstinence Only” education plans for sex ed classes.
Nevertheless, these concerns seem to be insignificant considering how well Minnesota scored in other areas of the recent report: 33% of state legislature positions are held by women, 34% of Minnesotan women have a bachelor’s degree or higher (an 8% improvement from 2000), and the average income of women in the state is about two cents higher than the national income for women.
Although Minnesota may still have many improvements to make before the state truly provides a welcoming environment for women, the most important trend that this data uncovered was that the state continually improved each year in multiple areas.