Louisiana Rated Worst State For Women

Women in the United States earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar that men make, face many barriers to reproductive health care and are significantly underrepresented in leadership roles. But the worst state for women by far is Louisiana, according to a state-by-state examination of these issues released Wednesday by the Center for American Progress.

In terms of economic security, health and leadership representation, the analysis rates Louisiana the lowest. Full-time working women in Louisiana earn only 67 percent of what men earn, on average, and more than one in five women and girls in Louisiana are currently living in poverty.

Only 12 percent of Louisiana's congressional seats are held by women, and the state has one of the top 10 worst maternal mortality rates in the country. There is only one OB-GYN for every 13,136 women in Louisiana, and nearly 20 percent of non-elderly women in the state are uninsured. Louisiana also requires an ultrasound, waiting period and counseling session before a woman can have an abortion.

The report also considered in its ratings the state's minimum wage, family leave policies, percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-K, the gender management gap and publicly funded contraceptive services. Other states that earned an "F" overall in these categories are Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, South Dakota, Indiana and Georgia.

Women living in Maryland, meanwhile, have the best quality of life, according to CAP's analysis. The poverty rate for women in Maryland is 11.4 percent -- three points lower than the national average for women -- and full-time working women earn 85 cents for every dollar men earn. Only one in 10 women in Maryland is uninsured, and the state has no mandatory ultrasound laws, waiting periods or gestational limits on abortion.

Other states that earned an "A" overall for these categories include Hawaii, Vermont, California and Delaware.

Buffy Wicks, a senior fellow at CAP, said the report illustrates a need for laws at a state level that help raise women out of poverty, provide the reproductive and contraceptive health care they need and support the needs working mothers.

"This report shows the incredible power at the state level to improve the lives of women and families," Wicks told HuffPost. "Policies that support working families -- such as an increased minimum wage and access to reproductive health services -- make for a better quality of life for women."

See how your state ranks in this interactive map from the Center for American Progress:

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