Eastern Maine Medical Center staff walk down a hallway in the hospital in this 2017 file photo. Credit: Ashley L. Conti

Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor ranks as one of the 20 best health care employers for women in the country, according to the business magazine Forbes.

About 40,000 Americans across all industries who work at companies with 1,000 or more employees were surveyed by the media company, which partnered with a market research firm for the study. The winners — who were judged on gender diversity, inclusion efforts, prenatal flexibility and options for workplace mothers — were eventually pooled into a list of 300 companies.

EMMC, which employs almost 4,500 people, ranked No. 18 among health care service providers, trailing a handful of substantially larger organizations, including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, with 63,000 employees; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s approximate 15,400 employees; and Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, with almost 35,300.

The Bangor hospital ranked No. 77 among all companies. Westbrook-based IDEXX Laboratories, at No. 226, was the only other ranked Maine company.

President Donna Russell-Cook said 77.5 percent of EMMC’s employees are women. About 25 percent of the executive leadership and 79 percent of the management team are also women.

EMMC, under the umbrella of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, is one of two major hospitals in Bangor. It’s the first time EMMC has received such an accolade, Russell-Cook said, but it reflects workplace values that have long been practiced.

“We’re trying to support all of our employees, both in growth and professional development, and work-life balance,” Russell-Cook said. For example, though workplace equality extends beyond how well new mothers are treated, EMMC’s three-month maternity leave option is also extended to fathers, she said. EMMC also offers designated breastfeeding pump rooms.

Sarah Hand, who serves as coordinator of the lactation and perinatal education department, said it makes sense to her why EMMC was recognized.

The 41-year-old mother of three has risen through the ranks in the decade she’s worked at the hospital, feeling the support from the organization to do so. After having kids, she wanted to go back to school. “Eastern Maine helped me financially to do that, but they also gave me a lot of flexibility in my schedule to accommodate school and work,” Hand said.

Carol Giggey, a 56-year-old transplant from Texas who has worked at EMMC for barely a year as an obstetrics clinical nurse, said she feels “empowered” by the support to pursue further leadership and education opportunities.

“I’ve worked in several different facilities in my career,” Giggey said, “and Eastern Maine has probably been the most supportive and encouraging experience.”

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.