With the women’s labor force participation rate reaching 57.7% in August, the highest it has been since February 2020, a new report called 2023’s Best & Worst Cities for Women offers new insight.

Who Was Surveyed

To identify the most women-friendly cities, WalletHub compared 182 cities across 15 key metrics. The data set ranges from the median earnings for female workers to the quality of women’s hospitals to suicide rates for women.

Best Cities for WomenWorst Cities for Women
1. Columbia, MD173. New Orleans, LA
2. South Burlington, VT174. Mobile, AL
3. Irvine, CA175. Laredo, TX
4. Fremont, CA176. Charleston, WV
5. Santa Clarita, CA177. Augusta, GA
6. Seattle, WA178. Shreveport, LA
7. Gilbert, AZ179. Huntington, WV
8. Overland Park, KS180. Brownsville, TX
9. Yonkers, NY181. Gulfport, MS
10. Pearl City, HI182. Jackson, MS

Best vs. Worst

  • Columbia, Maryland, has the highest median earnings for female workers (adjusted for cost of living), $51,526, which is 2.8 times higher than in Santa Ana, California, the city with the lowest at $18,351.
  • Pearl City, Hawaii, has the lowest share of women living in poverty, 4.10 percent, which is eight times lower than in Huntington, West Virginia, the city with the highest at 32.90 percent.
  • Anchorage, Alaska, has the highest share of women-owned businesses, 26.44 percent, which is 3.9 higher than in Charleston, West Virginia, the city with the lowest at 6.78 percent.
  • South Burlington, Vermont, has the lowest female uninsured rate, 1.80 percent, which is 16.5 times lower than in Brownsville, Texas, the city with the highest at 29.70 percent.
  • Portland, Maine has the lowest unemployment rate for women, 2.04 percent, which is 6.6 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest at 13.51 percent.

Main Issues Facing Women in Recent Years

“COVID has had a large negative effect on women who work outside the home. Schools were moved to online and in the home. Not surprisingly, since women do the bulk of caring work (e.g., child care, care for an elderly or disabled relative), many had to stop their paid employment. Data show that when women ‘stop out’ of work with the intent to return later, women pay a high premium in terms of reduced pay when they return to work. Flexible work arrangements are now available for many occupations, but some occupations cannot be done from home, even if the work at home is one or two days a week. Consider nursing, secretarial work, construction, waiting tables, and many more.

“Quality affordable child (and other) care is a major concern for many women who work outside the home. Medical coverage is also a major concern for women and men. I live in Los Angeles where transportation is a major issue. A genuine commitment to creating efficient, clean, and safe public transportation is critical in many cities like mine. Safe and affordable housing is important…for both women and men,” said Diane F. Halpern, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Claremont McKenna College; Dean of Social Sciences Emerita, Minerva University.

Promoting Gender Inclusiveness

“Sadly, women are often treated poorly at their worksite, with many people still clinging to old-fashioned stereotypes about women. These can be seen publicly in many places and they exist privately almost everywhere…It is difficult to change stereotypes, but it is possible. The people at the top of an organization must make it clear that discrimination will be tolerated. Any company that is concerned with equity should be monitoring salaries and promotions for women and men and racial/ethnic groups,” she added.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit here.

Source: WalletHub