Best And Worst Cities For Women’s Opportunity

Parity by 2025 could mean a $4.3 trillion economic boon.

Gender inequality in the workforce doesn’t just hold back women—it hurts families, communities, and the entire U.S. economy. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, shoring up the workforce imbalances between men and women could add as much as $4.3 trillion to the economy by 2025.

In its recent study, McKinsey calculated a “city parity score” (CPS) for 50 of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. (56% of America’s female population).  The CPS is constructed using eight indicators:  higher education, teen pregnancy rate, female city mayors, incidents of rape, labor-force participation, the number of women in professional and technical jobs, the number of women in leadership and managerial positions, and single-mom households.

From the list below, it’s plain to see that all the cities have quite a bit of work to do, from top-scoring Sacramento, California, with 0.856, to the lowest-scoring city, Bridgeport, Connecticut with 0.465. We compared these two cities below, indicator-by-indicator, to see their strengths and weaknesses.  Sacramento’s strong ratio of female-to-male mayors, for example, helped to pull up its final score.



The indicators measure the difference between the position of men and women, expressed as female-to-male ratios. They are first coded to fall within a range of 0.00 to 1.00–with 1 being full parity–and then a score is aggregated using the sum of squares formula.  However, customized indicators were used for the issues that only apply to women: teen pregnancy (shown in births per 1000 women aged 15 to 19),  and single-mom households (shown in percentage of families with children). MGI used the absolute level expressed as a prevalence rate in percentage terms. Incidence of rape and female mayors also used a customized indicator in light of data availability.  (These exceptions account for the whole numbers seen above.) Final scores indicate the distance from 1, or the ideal state with complete parity. For complete details on each city’s rankings, see McKinsey’s full report.


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