According to the financial website WalletHub, Idaho is the 9th worst state for women. Lists ranking states on various things come out almost daily and we don’t often report on them, and WalletHub in particular is a list juggernaut. But this one caught our eye.
Idaho was dead last for women’s preventative health care, but in the middle of the state rankings for women’s health care overall.
According to WalletHub, the Gem State is ahead of only Louisiana and Arkansas when it comes to women's economic and social wellbeing. The report says Idaho women are among the lowest paid in the country, and the state has a poor unemployment rate for women.
Another measure shows the state is ahead of only South Dakota in the share of women-owned businesses. Shari Herrera, the head of the Women’s Business Center of Idaho, says she's not surprised by that. The center helps women in the Treasure Valley start businesses. Herrera says there are a lot of reasons more Idaho women don’t start businesses.
“Access to economic opportunity, [that's] a big one," Herrera says. "Education [is also] huge. Access to funding, role models; we could go down a large list of why that happens in a particular area.”
Herrera says the kind of community a woman lives in is a factor in whether she'll own a business. Generally, women entrepreneurs thrive in urban and suburban environments, so Idaho's rural nature can play a role. She also says women from socially conservative backgrounds (another Idaho hallmark) are less likely to start businesses.
Herrera thinks the top thing Idaho could do to get more women in business is to teach entrepreneurship in schools.
Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam
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