We all know being a working mom is tough (and if you don't, this new report from the Kauffman Foundation lays all the details as to why). But it's not equally tough everywhere.
Some states (and countries) offer more supportive policies for working families than others, including more accessible childcare, better family leave policies, and a better gender pay gap. So which places are doing their best to help moms raise their kids, contribute to the economy, and stay sane all at the same time?
That's the subject of the latest edition of WalletHub's annual ranking of the best and worst states (plus the District of Columbia) for working moms. Each year the company crunches numbers, comparing factors like those I listed above (as well as data like the ratio of female to male executives, median women's salary adjusted for cost of living, and the female unemployment rate) to call out supportive states and shame the poorest performers. Which places earned cheers this year? Here's the top ten:
- North Dakota
- New Jersey
And which states have the ignominy of appearing at the bottom of the list? Here's the other end of the ranking from worst to slightly less bad:
- South Carolina
- New Mexico
While it's unlikely that many families will uproot their lives on the basis on such a ranking, the list is still a useful way to get people talking about what might make the lives of working families easier -- and where individual states are falling short.
If you're looking for more details, WalletHub further breaks down the results by individual measures, such as the best state for work-life balance (way to go, Connecticut!) and best for professional opportunity (Don't be too quick to celebrate, D.C. You also came in second to last when it came to balance).
What should businesses and governments do to improve the lives of working moms?
The results also come complete with mini interviews with several experts, who provide fascinating answers to questions like 'Is it becoming easier or harder for women to balance career and family?' and 'What can state and local governments do to support working mothers?'
Here's Laura Mattoon D'Amore, who studies these issues at Roger Williams University, replying to that last one: "State and local governments must step in where the private sector will not, which is in the creation of safe and affordable options for childcare from birth through teen years, mandated paid parental leave, and laws and policies that ensure fair employment practices like equal pay and safe, private lactation spaces. Mandated minimum wages that are in line with the cost of childcare would also help working parents access safe places for their children while they work." Amen, to that and happy Mother's Day to all the hard-working moms out there.
How did your state fare?