According to the The Washington Post, economists at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the National University of Singapore published an index of sexist attitudes in the United States. The researchers examined data from the General Social Survey, a survey of American attitudes conducted every two years since 1972. Specifically, they looked at respondents’ answers to questions about working mothers, women in politics, and gender roles in heterosexual marriages. They then mapped their results, painting a picture of the places where misogyny flourishes in the U.S.
So, what were the most and least sexist states?
Arkansas takes the dubious honor of the most sexist, while New Hampshire was ranked the least sexist. In the report, lead researcher Kerwin Kofi Charles, a professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, concluded that “sexism is highest in the Southeast and least extreme in New England and the West.” Alabama, West Virginia, Utah, and Tennessee all had high scores of sexism, while Wyoming, Alaska, Vermont, and Connecticut were ranked as less sexist.
Charles and his colleagues found that where a woman grows up and where she lives as an adult both can have a huge impact on her life. In their paper, the researchers determined that high sexism in either location can result in a woman getting paid less or staying out of the workforce, marrying at a younger age, or having children at a younger age. They also concluded that the sexism of a woman’s home state can continue to affect her if she moves elsewhere because of the ideas she internalized growing up. In other words, internalized misogyny is real. The Salt Lake Tribune notes that this study found that in Utah, it was women’s attitudes that made the state score so high on the sexism index.
On a more positive note, the study did find that overall, sexism in the U.S. has decreased over the years. So we’re hopeful that, someday, sexist attitudes will become a thing of the past…in all states.