Dear AWEE Stakeholder,
With memories of Mother’s Day still fresh in our hearts comes a recent WalletHub survey that ranks Arizona as one of the nation’s worst states for working moms.
Survey researchers compared child care, professional opportunities and work-life balance in the 50 U.S. states and District of Columbia using 13 metrics, each given a numerical value. When the final tallies were in, Arizona ranked 46th overall (47th for work-life balance, 45th for child care and 34th for professional opportunities).
Vermont was first overall and Nevada ranked dead last. Interestingly, Mississippi, which stood one spot ahead of Arizona overall had the nation’s lowest child-care costs. But we digress.
In addressing possible solutions, report researchers posed a series of questions to a group of experts ranging from university professors who research gender roles and economics to authors of some of the most popular career and women’s blogs.
Common themes in their responses included affordable and safe child care, paid parental leave, flexible work schedule options, promoting gender equity and equal pay for equal work.
Nationally, women represent just under half of America’s workforce, and more than 40 percent are single heads of households or have dependent children. But, they fall disproportionally at the low end of the earnings scale and are paid less than men.
In Arizona in 2013, 60 percent of Arizona’s hourly workers earning minimum wage were women. That’s a 26 percent leap over five years.
There’s no easy answer to finding the work-life balance, particularly for women in a state like Arizona with limited opportunities for sustained, long-term pathways for meaningful advancement that are compounded for working moms – especially solo moms with young children.
And yet, the fact is, when women do well, we all do better.
That’s the primary reason we’ve taken on a challenge we’re calling the Women’s Bridge Initiative to move women beyond low and minimum wage jobs through partnerships with like-minded individuals, organizations, businesses and municipalities to create, build and expand workforce development opportunities for women.
Our goal is ambitious, but attainable. And it’s important on so many levels.
You’ll be hearing much more about this in the coming months as we establish, nurture and activate those partnerships.
Marie A. Sullivan
President & CEO