It’s not the Mother’s Day gift any working mom in Georgia would request.
But, just in time for the day set aside to honor mothers, personal finance website WalletHub released its annual ranking of best and worst states for working moms.
Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and more than 70 percent of moms with young children are working, WalletHub noted. Yet women earned only 85 % of what men made in 2018 and have far less upward mobility, as evidenced by the fact that only 4.8 % of S&P 500 companies’ chief executives are female, the website said.
Although progress seems to be happening, it varies greatly from state to state.
To determine the best and worst states for working moms, WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia using 16 relevant metrics in three key dimensions: child care, professional opportunities and work-life balance.
At the top of the ranking was Massachusetts, with a score of 66.87 out of 100. The state was No. 1 for both child care and work-life balance, but No. 30 for professional opportunities.
At the bottom of the list was Louisiana, with a score of 29.
Georgia didn’t fare much better.
- Overall ranking: No. 45
- Score: 36.55
- Child care: No. 38
- Professional opportunities: No. 33
- Work-life balance: No. 51
That’s right; Georgia ranked last in work-life balance for working moms.
“Employees that have flexible work schedules have an easier time of juggling work and family balance,” said Kerri J. Wade, extension agent, associate professor and assistant director of the Families and Community Development Unit, West Virginia University Extension Service. “Employees that have to punch a clock or have limited or no paid leave have a hard time because they have almost no flexibility.”
According to Paul J. Antonellis Jr., on the faculty of Girard School of Business at Merrimack College: “The real challenge to a work-life balance starts with the organization. If the organization cannot support human capital, the result may be an increase turnover rate with employees leaving the organization, increase time-off using sick time or unpaid leave, (and) increase in mental health-related issues.”
What can state and local governments do to support working mothers?
Carolyn Middleton Plump, associate professor in the School of Business at La Salle University, has some ideas:
- Require transparency regarding salaries. “One of the insidious aspects of wage inequality is that it is often unknown and, therefore, cannot be challenged or rectified.”
- Allocate additional government resources to provide education about, and enforcement of, existing equal pay laws.
- Provide meaningful paid leave for both fathers and mothers.
- Pass laws to provide greater benefits – such as healthcare and paid leave – for part-time employees.
- Work to change the false narrative that suggests employee gains come at the expense of businesses.