Seattle Culture

Washington Ranks Among Top 10 States For Working Moms

Something to celebrate for Mother’s Day

By Sarah Stackhouse April 30, 2024


This article originally appeared in the July/August 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

If you’re a working mother, you’ve got it good.

A new study by personal financial website WalletHub ranks Washington state No. 7 in the country for working moms because of the quality of daycare, a generous parental leave policy, work-life balance, and competitive salaries for women. 

Surprisingly, Washington is the only state in the top 10 west of Minnesota. Oregon ranks No. 14.

As a working mom, I find it interesting to see how we compare nationally. While I took a decade-long break from working and didn’t tap into any parental leave, my husband, who works in the Seattle tech industry, enjoyed a five-week paternity leave. Washington workers, in general, are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave per year.

Childcare options in the Seattle area are abundant and diverse. From Montessori and Waldorf to cooperative, nature-based, faith-based, and language immersion preschools, families have a wide range of choices. These options vary in costs and schedules, making them easily accessible. 

In 2015, Seattle launched the publicly funded Seattle Preschool Program through the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning in partnership with a network of preschool providers across the city. And, during summer months when schools are out, our family has discovered that camp options are just as plentiful. Actually, the challenge now is that they tend to fill up quickly, but every year, new ones pop up to meet the demand.

Massachusetts tops the list, largely because it boasts one of the best parental-leave policies in the nation and a remarkably low unemployment rate for women at just 2.8%. Rhode Island closely follows. The Ocean State is noted for its minimal gender pay gap, where women earn 99.6% of what men earn. 

Not surprisingly, Blue states tended to rank higher.

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