The United States of Working Moms – Not Created Equal

Working Mom in home office on the phone while holding baby

We’re taking a moment to pause from wiping sticky fingerprints off every surface in the house to salute you, working moms of America. You make this country great, because you persevere. Through runny noses and double shifts, managing employees and homework assignments, you keep going.

There is no calling in sick in your line of work, no getting ahead on your endless to-do lists, but we know no salary in the world can compare to the value parenthood adds to your life.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 70-percent of mothers with kids younger than 18 years old are employed. Most moms are working. Unfortunately, most women are making less than their male counterparts. Furthermore, state by state, the environment for working moms to succeed is far from equal. Certain areas of the country are drastically lacking support for this powerful division of the labor force, and WalletHub is calling them out.

WalletHub compiled a rank of the best and worst states for working moms, and ladies, it’s not pretty. After considering quality and expense of childcare, the gender wage gap and the representation of women in high level positions, to name a few factors used in their evaluation, it is clear progress is lagging in the South and on the West Coast.

Top states for working women

According to WalletHub’s report, the Northeast shows strongest support for working mothers. Eight of the top 10 best ranking states are in the Northeast, with Vermont topping the list. The other two states are in the Midwest, with Minnesota coming in second. Vermont has some of the best childcare options in the country, but its professional opportunities for women ranks number 7. New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Connecticut and Massachusetts also ranked high in the areas of childcare and work-life balance.

At the bottom of the list

Alabama is bringing up the rear for worst state in the nation for working mothers. Alabama’s wage gap is too high and proportion of women executives to male executives too low. Alabama ranks worst in the category of professional opportunities for women. Nearly every state in the bottom 10 lies in the southern or western parts of the United States, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Arizona and New Mexico.

The political factor

What role can legislation play in improving the plight of working mothers? Does one political party better serve progress? That’s a big question, which can’t be answered by one WalletHub report. However, their numbers do indicate an interesting trend. Based on votes cast in the 2016 Presidential Election, states that went blue rank twice as low as states that went red. In other words, blue states tended to be friendlier for working moms.

Now, consider this, California, while generally thought of as a more progressive state, is average on this list at the 22 spot. California’s work-life balance is considered the best in the nation, with strong parental-leave policies, short commute times and an ideal length of the work week. But, California fails in terms of childcare, where the quality, cost and assessment of school systems weighs harder on moms.

In these United States of Working Moms, opportunity is not created equal. Each factor considered in this report affects another; a cause-and-effect relationship that is affecting families from coast to coast. Are working moms where you live choosing lower paying skill sets because it provides them more flexibility to avoid sending their kids to subpar childcare providers? Is the lack of parental-leave policies deterring moms from seeking promotions in their fields? Whatever the path to progress may be, the working moms of America deserve better.

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