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Texas named one of the worst states for working women, regardless of abortion access

September 3, 2021, 6:15 PM UTC

Texas, with the support of the U.S. Supreme Court, effectively made abortion illegal this week by incentivizing citizens to rat out anyone who helps a pregnant person get the procedure with a $10,000 cash prize. But a new report ranks the state as a particularly bad place for women to work, regardless of the new law. 

A new report by Oxfam America, an organization that seeks to end poverty, ranked Texas as the 48th best state (including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) for working women in 2021, making it the fourth worst in the country. Only Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina ranked worse. Oregon, California, and New York topped the list as the best states for working women.

The index measures policies that specifically or disproportionately impact working women across the country, including wage policies, the right to organize, protections for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding, laws against sexual harassment, and protections for domestic workers. It also factors in mandates for equal pay, paid family and sick leave, and flexible scheduling. 

“This goes beyond reproductive rights. Even in the workplace, Texas does not care about women or their well-being. As one of the worst states in the country for working women, Texas does not provide any kind of paid leave, pays below poverty wages, and does not accommodate pregnant nor breastfeeding workers,” said Oxfam America senior researcher Kaitlyn Henderson. “So in Texas, lawmakers want to limit a woman’s right to choose, but will not make workplaces safe once she conceives or even after she’s given birth. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.”

The ranking comes as a number of companies that recently relocated their headquarters to Texas have remained largely silent about the recent six-week abortion ban. Bumble, a women-led dating site based in Austin, announced it would create a relief fund to support reproductive rights. The CEO of Texas-based Match, which owns Tinder, will also create a similar fund, but business backlash has largely been missing. 

“Their silence is shameful,” Shelley Alpern, director of shareholder advocacy for Rhia Ventures who has worked to galvanize companies around reproductive rights, told Fortune’s Emma Hinchliffe. “Their very integrity is at stake.”

In 2019, Texas women who worked full-time, year-round earned about 80 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. And ​​nearly six in 10 minimum wage workers in Texas are women. While the minimum wage in Texas is $7.25, the minimum for workers who receive tips is just $2.13 per hour, and about two-thirds of tipped-wage workers in Texas are women. Unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is inaccessible to 61% of working people in Texas, and 24.7% of women of reproductive age in Texas are uninsured compared with the national average of 11.9% 

“The differences in working conditions for women in each state are stark,” said Henderson. “Essentially, where a woman lives and works determines whether she will be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace, and whether or not she can provide for a family.”

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