California Is 2022’s 10th Worst State for Working Moms – WalletHub Study

With Mother’s Day around the corner and 68% of women with children under age 18 having been in the labor force during 2021, the personal-finance website WalletHub this week released its report on 2022’s Best & Worst States for Working Moms.

In order to help ease the burden on mothers in the workforce, WalletHub compared the attractiveness of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for a working mother based on 17 key metrics. The data set ranges from the median women’s salary to the female unemployment rate to day-care quality.

Life as a Working Mom in California (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

  • 49th – Day-Care Quality
  • 22nd – Pediatricians per Capita
  • 30th – Ratio of Female Executives to Male Executives
  • 50th – Female Unemployment Rate
  • 19th – % of Single-Mom Families in Poverty

Expert Commentary

What can companies do to help working parents balance home and work life?

“Only eight states have publicly funded paid maternity leave: California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Washington, Connecticut, and Oregon. In light of this, companies can help working parents balance home and work life by providing paid maternity and paternity leave (some progressive companies offer 5 to 6 months of leave at full pay), and by making certain that both women and men who take advantage of paid leave around the birth or adoption of a child are not stigmatized for doing so. Currently, nearly four in five private-sector workers have no access to paid family leave. More states can pass paid maternity and family leave legislation.”
— Mary K. Trigg, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Rutgers University

“Companies have a few tools available. They can make work flexible wherever possible so that parents can take short-term time off to care for family members without stress or worry about the consequences at work. For some workers, schedule unpredictability complicates family life. For these sectors, companies can improve their work scheduling practices to provide more predictability. Companies can also work to change the organizational culture to recognize the limits of work and value family. For example, companies can limit or prohibit work-related activities such as emails during off-work hours.”
— David Rothwell, MSW, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Oregon State University

Given the current shift in the workforce supply-demand chain, and with 1 in 4 parents suffering from burnout, what are some key drivers to attract, retain and support working parents?

“Many companies see helping workers balance work and family demands as important to reduce employee stress, which has negative consequences for retention, productivity, and health care costs. Offering family-friendly policies also improve employee morale. In an environment where there is competition for attracting employees, employee flexibility and freedom give companies the edge in the talent war.”
— Corinna Jenkins Tucker, Ph.D., C.F.L.E. – Professor, University of New Hampshire

“Flexible work arrangements (work from home, work remotely), supplemental child care provisions like employers offsetting unexpected costs, housing allowances in cities with skyrocketing housing costs, and need-based child supplemental medical care supports, especially for parents of special needs children.”
— James P. Huguley – Associate Dean & Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh

According to a recent report, more than 2.3 million American women had dropped out completely from the labor force since the start of the pandemic. What can state and local governments do to support working mothers during this troubling time?

“Companies could offer both women and men part-time positions during family intensive years that would have the same prestige and opportunities for advancement that full-time positions do. They could ensure pay equity. They could continue to offer options for working from home and time flexibility for both women and men. Hours intensive workplaces like law firms and banks and financial services firms could reconsider the grueling hours that are often required for advancement and success.”
— Mary K. Trigg, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Rutgers University

“State and local governments can support pay equity for equally qualified men and women. In the absence of a federal policy, state and local governments can provide paid family leave and paid sick leave – at least 10 states have passed some form of paid family leave policy. Additionally, governments can work to provide better access to affordable and high-quality daycare. At present, families struggle to find daycare spots and if they do, they are often unaffordable. Federal proposals to address the child care crisis suggest a cap of 7% of family monthly income to daycare. At present, most families are paying much more than 7%. Policies can also work to increase the very low pay that is common in certain fields dominated by women such as early child care and home health and social services.”
— David Rothwell, MSW, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Oregon State University



Image Sources

  • Mother’s Day: Shutterstock