May Discussion: where is the best place to live as a woman? What do you think?

Washington, D.C. is ranked the #1 U.S. city for women's well-being. Photo courtesy of

WeNews: Top U.S. Cities for Women’s Well-Being Ranked

How does your city stack up ? « Measure of America », a Social Science Research Council project, recently published a study on the best and worst urban areas to live in as an American woman. The factors used were life expectancy, earning power, and education. So where are you ?

Washington, D.C. is ranked the #1 U.S. city for women's well-being. Photo courtesy of

Obviously, this was a US-specific study, and I would be very curious to know where the rest of the world ranks. But I thought I’d put it to you Go Girls to strike up a conversation on your personal rankings.

Personally, in terms of what is important for me, life expectancy doesn’t top the list. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I’m in my 70s, but I figure between 77 and 83, as long as I will have lived a fulfilled and happy life, I doubt I’d care about that 5-year difference. Education possibilities are crucial to me, as are earning power. General job opportunities are also very important to me.

So now I’m offering you all a little project: Tell me about your city — not necessarily what numbers you can find in research, but rather, how have you felt as a woman in your area? I’ll start (for argument’s sake, I’m going to cover the province of Québec in general, since the population is approximately that of a huge city):

There are more Quebecois women who go to university than men (though I believe that this is true in most developed countries at the moment). However, when looking at women in the universities and CEGEPs (College of general and vocational education), the distribution isn’t as varied as one might hope. Pure sciences and engineering are still dominated by men. Management/business and law, though women are on the rise, are still also largely men. Education and the arts are dominated by women. Though I purposefully have not looked at the numbers, through this I can only assume that women are making, on the whole, smaller salaries than men, due to this discrepancy. Through talking with friends in all milieus, I have concluded that the average female teacher makes approximately 22,000$ coming out of university, while the average male engineer makes about 45,000$ his first year. For those who don’t go to university, unfortunately I am not sure what the trends are (though stereotypical career choices such as construction for men are quite high-paying).

On the whole, I have rarely if ever felt discriminated against as a woman no matter where I have gone in the province of Québec. Perhaps I lucked out.

Where are you ?

Nathalie Couet
With a French-Polish mother and a Québecois father, Nathalie has always been fully aware and grateful of the fact that she is a citizen of the world. Born in the United States, Nathalie moved to the United Kingdom at six months, only to return to the U.S. at the age of three. After high school, Nathalie moved to Montréal, Québec to complete a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology/Archaeology/African Studies. Forever in love with writing, the outdoors, and photography, Nathalie spent several years as a freelance sports photographer and writer. A deep love of science brought her back to her roots, and she now works in communications for a software company. (She has long said that tech geeks are her spirit animal…and now she spends her days with them.) Suffering from self-diagnosed wanderlust since she was a little girl, Nathalie has been fortunate enough to visit most of the U.S. states, several Canadian provinces, and a dozen countries over three continents. As an adventure junky and an avid rock-climber, Nathalie now travels whenever and wherever she can, writing, climbing, and eating everything she can along the way.

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