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U.S. News ranks CT, New England states in top 10 for gender equality. But it's complicated.

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A U.S. News report ranks Connecticut as the seventh-best state in the country for gender equality, based on factors related to economics, education, health, family planning and care, and representation in politics. Connecticut ranked in the top 10 behind three other New England states: Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. New Hampshire ranked 8th.

So what is the region doing differently to promote equality for women? One local data expert says the answers aren’t so simple.

Mark Abraham, executive director of DataHaven — a New Haven-based organization that collects data on quality of life in Connecticut — said New England states tend to be at the top of well-being lists because of their wealth and strong middle class. However, he noted that the current survey is an overall look at the state and does not reflect the varied experiences of different communities.

In particular, Abraham pointed out the perfect score Connecticut received in the “Economy” category of the U.S. News report.

“[New England] states tend to rank really high on average, but they also have very high disparities,” Abraham said. “When you start to look at geography or race and ethnicity within the states, neighborhoods that have really high concentrations of renters and young adults and immigrants … those towns will tend to have like much lower levels of income, barriers to health care access and different levels of political participation.”

According to DataHaven’s most recent analysis using data from 2020, the wage gap between women and men ranges from nearly nonexistent (New Haven) to 24 cents per dollar (Greenwich). The median wage gap worsens for women of color — for every dollar a white man makes, Black women earn about 58 cents, and Latina women earn about 47 cents, according to DataHaven’s report using data from 2015.

Gov. Ned Lamont recently celebrated the U.S. News ranking, pointing to Connecticut’s legislation addressing the minimum wage, paid family leave, pay equity and reproductive health.

Massachusetts came in just outside the top 10, ranking 11th in the U.S. News report.

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