Map 197 is kind of like a State of the Union for Women’s Quality of Life. A MoveHub study that I found on DailyMail examined several factors to determine the best and worst states for the quality of a woman’s life. The factors include the gender pay gap, political representation, education, accessibility to health insurance, reproductive rights, and violence against women statistics. States are ranked in groups of five and colored based on this ranking (except Washington, which should have been light green based on it’s ranking at 14th).
The best regions for women appear to be New England and the West Coast but three of the top four states are on their own; Hawaii (#1), Minnesota (#3), and Illinois (#4). The South and non-coast states in the West have worse quality of life for women. According to the study results, political representation was the most important factor in determining if women would have a good quality of life in a state. It is directly responsible for some of the other factors including reproductive rights and health insurance access. Conservative states that have been battling Planned Parenthood for many years are good examples of how political bodies can impact the quality of life of women. Planned Parenthood offers a wide variety of health services for women, not just abortion services, but conservatives are trying to shut it down as though abortions are all they do. Zero public funding is used for abortions at Planned Parenthood per Federal Regulation but that doesn’t stop politicians from trying to restrict access to all Planned Parenthood facilities. This politically-inspired limitation of healthcare puts women at risk, and bringing it back to the map, gives states bad grades for female quality of life.
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If you’re a woman living in Oklahoma or Louisiana, perhaps you’d like to get away for a couple of months. I put Map 198 together from a list of port locations on a four month cruise around the world. The Cunard UK cruise aboard the Queen Elizabeth departed from Southampton (A) in the United Kingdom on January 7th and is still sailing. In fact, travelers aboard the QE just visited Singapore (e) and Kuala Lumpur (f) and are spending the day in Penang, Malaysia (g) prior to crossing the Bay of Bengal to Colombo, Sri Lanka (h)! This route is full of interesting locations so let’s examine them further below.
The first stop on this cruise, after six days at sea, was New York City (B). Cruisers spent two days in NYC and then sailed down the East Coast to Fort Lauderdale, Florida (C). Curacao (D) and Cartagena (E) were next before passing through the Panama Canal (F) to the Pacific Ocean. Huatulco (G) and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (H) were fun pit-stops on the way to San Francisco, California (I).
From California, the Queen Elizabeth crossed to Hawaii making two stops in Honolulu (J) and Lahaina (K). The amazing island locations continued in American Samoa (L), Tonga (M), and New Zealand (N,O). From there, the Australian cities of Sydney (P), Brisbane (Q), and Cairns (R) were next. The last stop in the Oceania region is Alotau, Papua New Guinea (S). Australia and New Zealand are definitely on my shortlist of travel locations if money wasn’t an issue. I see friends of mine on Facebook visiting these far off places and I get super jealous. My vacation time is limited and even if I did have the days to spare I don’t know how we’d afford such a trip.
The cruise route hiked North for five days at sea before several days exploring the Far East. The first stop of many was Okinawa (T). The history and natural beauty of the island provided travelers a lot to see and do. Kobe, Japan (U/Z) was next and started a small loop to Kagoshima (V), Busan, South Korea (W), the Kanmom Straight (X), Hiroshima (Y), and back. From this loop, the QE headed for the big city excitment of Shanghai, China (a) and Hong Kong (b). Hong Kong would be an interesting place to explore.
The ship traveled from Hong Kong to Nha Trang, Vietnam (c), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (d), Singapore (e), and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (f). As I said, the cruise is currently, today, April 2nd, in Penang (g) and it heads to Colombo, Sri Lanka (h) tomorrow. The beautiful Seychelles (i) offer travelers wonderful beaches and crystal waters, as do Mauritius (j) and Réunion (k), the final stops before the ship reaches Africa.
The Queen Elizabeth will round the tip of Africa soon and land in Port Elizabeth (l) and Cape Town, South Africa (m). I’m not familiar with Walvis Bay, Namibia (n) but I’m sure it has a lot to offer the traveler.
Next up is Cape Verde (o), which I have heard of, Tenerife (p), which I haven’t, and Madeira, Portugal (q). From Portugal the QE heads back to Southampton in the UK completing 120 nights aboard the 965-foot vessel for the approximate 2000 passengers and 1000 crew.
There are a variety of options for circumnavigating the planet on Cunard’s website if you’re interested in sailing the high seas for 89 to 132 days on one of their luxurious ships. The 2018 version of this same trip is available for booking right now from $21,253 and up, a surprisingly reasonable price for four months of living expenses combined with an amazing adventure!
Until next time,
Bonus Map Link: Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth Deck Map