Study: Poverty, discrimination make life harder for women in Louisiana 

    Louisiana is the worst place in America to be a woman. That’s according to the newly released U.S. Women, Peace and Security Index, produced annually by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. 

    Louisiana ranks below average on a dozen indicators used to rank the 50 states plus Washington, D.C. The report points to discriminatory norms as well as maternal mortality rates as reasons why the state topped the list. 

    Highlighting the different perceptions about equality across both gender and race, the survey reported that more than 80% of Black women in Louisiana say that men have more opportunities to get good jobs than women do, while only one-third of white men in the state think the same. 

    Poverty rates for women in Louisiana also soar above national averages, according to the report. Nearly one in five women and 45% of female-headed households live in poverty, compared with 12% of women nationally. 

    Georgetown’s survey found that half of women of color in the state do not have enough money to afford to pay their bills and meet basic needs, and 45% of Black women have less than $200 in savings, compared with 30% of white women in the best performing states. 

    “The good old boy system: It is real and it is still active in Louisiana …,” Dianna Payton, CEO of YWCA Greater Baton Rouge, told Georgetown for the report. “The decisions that are being made are not in our interest. They are not taking our needs into account.”

    Overall, the survey found that nearly four in five women respondents in Louisiana believe that there is still work to be done to achieve equality, compared with only one in three men. 

    Massachusetts was listed as the best place to be a woman, followed by Connecticut and Washington D.C. Read the full report.