New study shows which states are best for working moms

(The Center Square) – A trio of Northeastern states are among the best for working moms, according to a new report.

WalletHub has ranked Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island as the three best states for supporting working mothers in its 2022’s Best & Worst States for Working Moms. Vermont ranked seventh in the report, which indicates that 68% of women with children under the age of 18 are in the work force since 2021.

Dr. Corinna Jenkins Tucker, a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of New Hampshire, said that with so many dual earners and dual-career relationships involving children, the workplace has a direct effect on families.

“Work and family demands are likely to conflict,” Jenkins Tucker said in the study. “Companies can help balance the demands and obligations of the family to enhance worker productivity.”

She said in order to achieve this, companies can offer family-friendly policies including the number of hours and particular hours of the day, or workweek, and offer on-site child facilities that would help families meeting work and home obligations.

By offering those types of policies, Jenkins Tucker said, employers can reduce stress on employees which in turn improves morale, retention, productivity, and lower health-care costs.

Measurements in the study were configured using 17 metrics on a 100-point scale. Scores were tabulated by calculating overall scores to create a ranking system. For child care, 40 points would be attainable using day-care quality, child-care costs, pediatricians per capita, and school quality.

Professional opportunities were based on a 30-point scale using gender pay gap, the ratio of female to male executives, and women’s salaries.

Massachusetts ranked first overall with a score of 62.99. The state ranked fourth in child care, 22nd in professional opportunities, and first in work-life balance.

Connecticut came in second with a total score of 62.95. In child care, the state ranked fifth overall, first in professional opportunities, and fifth in work-life balance. The state also ranked first by having the lowest gender pay gap.

Rhode Island ranked third with a score of 61.99, ranked seventh in child care, ninth in professional opportunities, and second in work-life balance.

Vermont came in seventh overall in the rankings with a score of 55.40. The state was ninth in child care, 21st in professional opportunities, and ninth in work-life balance. The state also ranked fourth with the highest female to male executive ratio.

The report indicated that even during nonpandemic times, working mothers were still facing an uphill battle in the workplace with an hourly wage that is 84% of what men earn while a paltry 6.2% of S&P 500 companies’ top leadership positions are held by women.

The study showed that Mississippi has the lowest child-care costs, and North Dakota has the highest number of child-care workers per 1,000 children younger than 14.

Meanwhile, Maryland had the lowest share of single-mom families who have children young than 18 in poverty at 23.5%, which is significantly lower than Mississippi’s 47.6%.

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