Women with a High School Degree

Women with a High School Degree

Data highlight

Oklahoma ranks 40 (of 50) for the percentage of women who don’t have a high school diploma. Vermont has the most women per capita boasting degrees at only 3.8% without, and California ranks #50 with 15% of its women navigating life without having graduated high school.


Percentage of women who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent.

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In Oklahoma, the requirements to graduate from high school vary by location, type of school, and the curriculum choices of parents/guardians. 

In general, they include completing credits in language arts, math, science, computer technology, and social studies. Additionally, students must pass specific exams and may need to complete a career/academic plan. 


Census data from the American Community Survey tells us that 10.2% of Oklahoma women reported they didn’t have a high school diploma or equivalent in 2021, compared to 12.5% of men.

But what about the women that do? How is Oklahoma doing compared to other states on that front? Strangely enough, that’s a harder question to answer.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) publishes in-depth data on school performance, which includes high school graduation rates disaggregated by gender. In 2022, 82% of the females enrolled in the state’s public school system graduated within 4 years. 85% graduated within 5, and 87% graduated by year 6.

While states are required to report high school graduation rates disaggregated by a variety of demographics to the US Department of Education, gender isn’t one of them.

So while we have a clear, annually-updated picture of how many women in Oklahoma are graduating, we have to look at the number of women without a diploma to benchmark our progress.

Why we care:

More stable jobs with greater earning potential are just the two most immediate benefits women who graduate from high school enjoy.

The process of being educated is good for your health, especially for folks who experienced early childhood trauma. Stress reduction and increased access to health and social services are part of the reason. The networks young people build in school also expose them to new ideas and pathways to opportunities they may not have thought possible.

Finishing high school is especially challenging – and important – for girls who become pregnant during their teenage years (see Teen Birth Rate). One analysis found that 51% of teen mothers and 84% of non-teen mothers earned a high school diploma by age 30.

When teen mothers graduate high school, the benefits extend to their children. Children of teen mothers are more likely to have kids during their teens as well unless their mom graduated from high school. Kids of teen mothers who finished high school are also more likely to graduate themselves than those whose mothers dropped out.

What we can do:

This issue brief was written by Metriarch staff as part of our Data Lookbook.

Suggested citation
 Metriarch. “Education,” Data Lookbook (2024). URL: metriarchok.org/women-with-a-high-school-degree.

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