JIM CREES: We’re Number 23!!!

Everybody grab one of those over-sized foam fingers. Now slip it over your hand, raise it on high, and repeat after me:


We, as Americans, always seem to get really excited when we come up Number 1 (usually at some sporting event) but we don’t get nearly as cranked when we are faced with the REAL numbers.

So ... as we celebrated Women’s Equality Day yesterday, Aug. 26, we had an opportunity to take a look at how good things are for women in these United States.

First, you should know and understand that in the 2013 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report, the United States ranked Number 23 out of 136 countries reviewed around the world. This organization in its annual report reviews and measures the economic, political, educational, and health equality of women around the globe.

To be sure, the United States certainly beats out 113 other countries with regard to gender equality, BUT it falls behind 22 other countries including such luminaries as Cuba and Burundi.

Yep. The most powerful democracy in the world is Number 23 when it comes to equality for its women ... half the population.

Is that a concern?

It should be.

And it isn’t simply a question of economic opportunity. The dismal standing by the U.S. when it comes to gender equality is most largely reflected in the women’s lack of political influence in the country.

At last count, women hold 98 seats in Congress — 98 out of 535! Less than 20 percent.

And yet, as of the 2010 census, women outnumber men by a margin of 5.2 million — 157.0 million females, 151.8 million males.

More physical presence, less political representation

Not only has the United States never had a female president, women only hold 18 percent of Congressional postings.

In contrast, according to WalletHub, an Internet finance resource, “Iceland scores the highest in the world for political empowerment of women. Female heads of state led the country for 20 out of the last 50 years. Women also make up about 40 percent of the country’s parliament ...”

In a review of the situation of gender equality in the U.S. just before World Equality Day, researchers found:

  • In every state, women earn less than men. Arizona has the lowest pay gap, with women earning just 13.2 percent less. Wyoming has the highest, with women earning 34.5 percent less.
  • In every state, male executives outnumber female executives. Utah has the highest gap, with 73.48 percent more males. Alabama has the lowest, with 25.52 percent more males.
  • In almost every state, women represent the highest percentage of minimum-wage workers. West Virginia has the highest gap, with 60 percent more females. Alaska, Kansas, Hawaii and Nevada have an equal ratio of women and men who earn minimum wage.
  • In every state legislature, there are more male than female lawmakers. Louisiana has the highest gap, with 85.7 percent more males. Colorado has the lowest, with 30.5 percent more males.

So ...


Michigan ranked 36 out of the 50 U.S. states when it came to gender equality.


Women have taken long strides in remedying the state of inequality in which they live here in the U.S. Still, it is too often a case of one step forward, two steps back.

Even though more and more women in the U.S. (and indeed in our immediate neighborhood) are the sole breadwinner in their household, here in the United States they are still paid 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. (In Michigan, the pay gap difference is actually 74 cents to every dollar earned by a man.)

And this difference in pay is even greater for African Americans or Hispanic women.

Michigan nabs the 15 spot for poverty rates for women. Just over 37 percent of African American women in Michigan live in poverty.

And women in the U.S. continue to daily face challenges by hyper-conservative groups to diminish and even erase a woman’s right and ability to make personal decisions about their own health, (and I AM NOT talking wholly and solely about abortion issues).

Over 12 percent of women under retirement age in Michigan have no health insurance.

And ... get ready for it ... Michigan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the United States, with 21 deaths for every 100,000 live births according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund.