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Gender pay gap: Top 5 best and worst states

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People fill the aisles at a job fair in Montpelier, Vt., in 2010.

Toby Talbot/AP/File

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2. Vermont

In Vermont, women earned $38,177 and men earned $44,057, giving it the second highest women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio: 87 percent.

One contributing factor to its high score: state legislation bolstering equal pay rights. Vermont passed the Equal Pay for Equal Work law in 2002, which makes it easier to file wage discrimination claims, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity.

"These laws like the Vermont equal pay law are really designed to get at that problem by making sure when employers pay different rates to men and women for doing essentially the same work, that they have an extremely good business-related reason for doing so," Cheryl Hanna, a professor of constitutional law at Vermont Law School, told Vermont Public Radio.

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