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Women's Priorities Detailed in Election Year Report

Women’s priorities and values in today’s changing economic landscape have remained surprisingly consistent since 1992, according to Women’s Voices, a national polling and research project. They have urgently and consistently placed juggling time and family and equal pay and benefits as the most dominant economic concerns in their lives.

2000 marks the third election year in which researchers have polled women for the report. Here are some of the key findings:

  1. Four years ago women thought the economy was marked by instability; now all groups of women see opportunity.
  2. Women are asking, "is this as good as it gets?" and class distinctions by educational and marital status are more evident. Among college-educated women, 56% say that the economic boom has reached them, and 40% say that it has not. Among non-college-educated women, only 34% say that the boom has reached them, and 62% say that it has not.
  3. Equal pay and benefits and juggling family and work are critical concerns for all groups of women.
  4. Working women are focusing on benefits, not just wages. Some 71% of all women surveyed say they would choose a job with more flexibility and benefits over a job that offers more pay.
  5. Retirement is a big worry with the preferred solution being portable pensions that can be taken from one job to another.
  6. The concern about health care costs, another top priority, is being met with a desire for self-management.
  7. Women and men believe government can play a helping role and look to government more in 2000 than four years ago. They want help tackling tough problems such as child care and caring for elderly relatives.
  8. Close to half of women (48%) and men (45%) think it is likely that they will be responsible for caring for an elderly parent or other elderly person.
  9. Entrepreneurship continues to be an attractive option as women seek more control and flexibility.
  10. The time crunch is consistent over time for women as they juggle the demands of family and work and try to spend time with their children to instill moral values. Some 59% of mothers with children under six say that it is harder to balance the demands of family and work than it was four years ago.

Women’s Voices 2000 is a partnership among the Center for Policy Alternatives and Lifetime Television.