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Working moms in Oregon have it pretty good, enjoying the best work-life balance in the nation.
That’s according to a new survey by personal finance network WalletHub, which ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia on issues important to working mothers, including child care, parental-leave policies, work-life balance and the size of the gender pay gap.
The survey noted that although women make up about half of the workforce in the U.S., they earn a measly two-thirds of what their male counterparts do and experience far fewer opportunities for upward mobility. What’s worse is, “even the new crop of high-profile female CEOs seems to be drastically underpaid relative to their peers,” WalletHub said.
Oregon may be the best state to live when it comes to work-life balance. But when you take into consideration child care and professional opportunities, it moves to 16th place. Vermont earned the top spot for the best overall state for working moms, followed by Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
On the other end of the spectrum, Louisiana has one of the worst child care systems and largest gender pay gaps in the country, which drove it to last place in the overall rankings. Mississippi, Wyoming, Idaho and South Carolina round out the top five worst places to be a mom who works outside the home.
Here are the overall rankings for working moms for all 50 states and the District of Columbia:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- Connecticut (tie)
- Maryland (tie)
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Illinois (tie)
- Iowa (tie)
- South Dakota
- District of Columbia
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
It should be noted that even among the top-ranking states, it can be challenging to be a working mother. WalletHub says something must be done to increase workplace gender equality and ease the burden working parents experience, but just what needs to be done is up for debate.
Progress, it would seem, is taking shape at different rates across the country. Not only do parental leave policies and other legal support systems vary by state, but the quality of infrastructure – from cost-effective day care to public schools – [is] far from uniform as well.
As this survey shows, equal pay is not the only problem that working mothers face in the country. It also involves the important services for early childhood development and flexibility to do the primary job many women are concerned with: being a mom.
So it appears that achieving the ideal work-life balance isn’t easy, especially for a mom. But kudos to all you working moms out there who are trying.