OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A recent study showed Oklahoma as the worst state to live in for women in all of the United States.
Now, State Senator Jessica Garvin has requested a legislative study to be done that tries to tackle that problem.
Wallethub published the study in late February. It said that Oklahoma jumped from 47th in 2021 to 51st in 2022.
The study looked at poverty, voter turnout, and life expectancy, among 25 other metrics.
Sen. Garvin could hardly believe the results when she read them.
“It was just kind of confusing, but also a little crushing and disheartening,” said Garvin.
To make Oklahoma a top ten state for women, Garvin said there is work that needs to be done.
Cindy Nguyen, with ACLU of Oklahoma, said that rankings at the bottom because state lawmakers don’t put a priority on solving problems related to women.
“If we truly wanted to make this a top ten state for women, we have to make sure that we include the people that are most impacted by the decisions made at the Capitol and whether these women are black or brown, trans women experiencing poverty,” said Nguyen.
Even a second study, one done by the Oklahoma State University’s business school concluded that if the pay gap between men and women remained how it is today, it would take 52 years for pay to be equal.
It also noted that child care costs in Oklahoma are more than college tuition.
Leslie Osborn, State Labor Commissioner, agreed that more needs to be done.
“In December of 2020 a lack of child care was the third most reported reason for unemployment in our state for women,” said Osborn in a statement to KFOR.
She added that Senator Garvin’s study should highlight resources for women looking to start their own businesses.
REI Oklahoma is an organization that works to support women in business.
Jennifer Edwards is the Program Director for REI Oklahoma. She said business is one area where women are thriving.
“I think during the pandemic, we certainly saw a lot of business creation,” said Edwards. “Women owned businesses and especially minority women owned businesses are starting at a much higher rate than ever before.”
The study from Garvin will be released November 1.
She is excited for the results, even though there are statistics that look bleak. Her goal is to have the study reflect women from every corner of the state.
“I want this to be something that includes women like me who are rural and young, and I want it to be a study that includes women from urban areas and older and senior adults, and younger children like my daughters,” said Garvin.