When I asked my second-wave feminist mentor (yes that is her real-life title) if she preferred her native Indiana to her longtime home of New York City, I thought for sure she would tell me she loved liberal, feminist NYC best. "Indiana," she said. When I questioned her, she didn't hesitate to tell me why: There was more work to be done in her Midwest state than in the progressive metropolis that is New York. She piqued my interest, and I prodded her for more. New York had been the hub of feminist activism since it first began in the 1960s, but in the Midwest, things were slower to change. Sometimes it took a radical thinker to shake things up. And when one lives in a state where old white conservative dudes frequent legislatures in droves, that fight can feel pretty near impossible at times. Some of these territories, are, arguably, the worst states to be a feminist.
One of the main issues on the "NSFF" (Not Safe For Feminists) Meter is how the state does on abortion. So, if you're for the right to call the shots for your own body, be sure to consider that before renting a U-Haul and heading to Kansas. But never fear, Kansas, you're not the only one of the hit list for feminists. Let's dive in and take a look at the five worst states to move if you're a feminist.
Home, home on the range. Except maybe not if you're a woman who cares at all about making as much money as a man. In 2014, Wallet Hub crunched some numbers, measuring "Workplace Environment," "Education and Health Rank," and "Political Empowerment Rank." Wyoming ranked 50th overall, showing low rankings in each category. Wyoming's Women's Foundation is devoted to lessening this gap by hosting workshops given by their WAGE Project and are tailored to female high school and college graduates. In some areas of the state, the WYWF calculates an average gap of 61 percent between men and women's salaries. If you want to get angry, feminists, move to Wyoming.
Which state has two S's, two P's, and 5 million ways to piss off a feminist? Ding, ding, ding. In the entire state of Mississippi, there is exactly one clinic left that provides abortions. Jackson Women's Health Organization actually displays, "We are the last clinic standing in Mississippi," across their website, which will make any card-carrying feminist ball up and cry. According to Alternet, the abortion rate in Mississippi was four times lower than the rest of the country in 2011, when there were two clinics left in the state. Oh, and in Mississippi, a rapist is allowed to sue for custody. So, with that, let's move outta here, feminist warriors.
Anyone up for some skiing or a trip to Sundance Film Festival? Maybe a little pit stop in the land of a huge gender wage gap and a teeny, tiny percentage of women in legislature? Yeah, here we are in Utah. According to USA Today, 16.3 percent of the state legislature are women, and in 2013, only six women filled the slots of 75 seats available. It's time to get some XX chromosomes in those seats.
The New York Times once ran a headline for a story featuring Williston, North Dakota, that read, "An Oil Town Where Men Are Many And Women Are Hounded." Great. That's exactly where I want the feminist in me to go. The AAUW reported women make 70 percent of what men make in North Dakota, and USA Today cited that the state is one of 10 in the country that don't provide funding for state preschool. Bravo, North Dakota.
Oh, Texas, what in the name of Molly Ivins has happened to you? In 2012, Texas had 41 clinics that provided abortions. Now, there are 18, according to The New York Times. Although the Supreme Court ruled in June that 10 Texas abortion clinics could stay open, the map of clinics are few and far between across the great big state. Weep, feminists, weep. But don't cry for long, because Wendy Davis needs you on her team.