State ranked worst for moms

Published 10:39 pm Monday, May 8, 2017

Living in Alabama may not be so great for working moms, according to personal finance website WalletHub.

On Monday, WalletHub released an in-depth analysis of the 2017 Best and Worst States for Working Moms.

In that ranking, Alabama ranked 51st out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., for working mothers.

The release said, “in order to help ease the burden on women who work, particularly moms, WalletHub’s analysts compared the attractiveness of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to a working mother based on 13 key metrics. The data set ranges from median women’s salary to female unemployment rate to day-care quality.”

Statistically speaking, women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and more than 70 percent of moms with children under 18 are working.

“Yet women earned only 83 percent of what men made in 2015 and have far less upward mobility, as evidenced by the fact that only 5.8 percent of S&P 500 companies’ chief executive officers are female,” the release said. “Such obvious inequality has spawned a great deal of debate about gender roles in a shifting socioeconomic environment. Workplace inequality is important not only in the spirit of a merit-based economy but also for deeply ingrained social reasons. For instance, should women have to choose between career and family?”

According to WalletHub, the real question is what we’re doing about this fundamental problem.

“Progress appears to be taking shape at different rates across the nation. 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 also farm from uniform as well.”

Alabama is ranked 47th in terms of day-care systems, putting it in the bottom five in the whole country. New York ranks No. 1 and Idaho No. 51.

The state is ranked No. 5 in terms of lowest child care costs as a percentage of median women’s income. Mississippi is ranked No. 1 and the District of Columbia is ranked No. 51.

Additionally, Alabama is among the states with the highest gender pay gap between women’s and men’s earnings. Alabama is ranked 48th. Hawaii has the lowest pay gap and Wyoming has the largest.

Alabama is one of the states with the lowest female executive to male executive ratio. Alabama ranks 48th. South Dakota has the highest ratio and Utah the lowest.

Politically speaking, Blue states tend to be more friendly to working moms than Red states.

Experts weighed in on what can be done to help working parents balance home and work life.

“Companies can make a range of work-friendly policies available to both mothers and fathers, and back them up with supportive workplace cultures,” said Caitlyn Collins, associate professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. “Policies like paid paternal leave, flexible schedules, and telecommuting options are a great place to start. But they are ineffective if workers don’t feel comfortable taking advantage of them for fear that they mark them as uncommitted employees.”


Linda Grant, professor emerita of sociology at the University of Georgia said that there things state and local governments can do to support working mothers.

“State and local governments could be leaders in establishing paid paternal and care leave, and even consider family allowances that are provided in some European countries for families with young children,” she said. “Children would be seen as a resource within communities. If governments provided such benefits, it would be an incentive for private-sector employers to do the same. As some state and local governments already are doing, they might encourage flexible work hour schedules in their labor forces.”