At the National Women’s Law Center, we have fought stereotypes about women for more than 35 years. Stereotypes that say girls aren’t good at sports and science. That women are better suited to serve coffee than to serve in the military. That women are too emotional to be in positions of power... to name just a few.
As we all know, those stereotypes are ridiculous. But it’s impossible not to notice that there are quite a few points where women and men differ in the poll results we’re releasing today. [There is a key area where women and men have similar views –- Roe v. Wade. Watch a video of Marcia discussing the surprising poll findings around this issue at the end of this post.]
Everyone is feeling the pinch of rising food, energy, education, and health care costs. Yet our new poll finds that women feel the impact of economic insecurity even more acutely than men do. Women are more likely than men to feel that they are falling behind economically, and are more likely than men to be worried and concerned about their future. Looking forward, just 27 percent of women –- compared with 35 percent of men –- feel very confident that they will be able to afford health care costs in the next few years.
Their concerns are certainly valid. Women currently face enormous challenges in America: more than 14 million women live in poverty. More than 17 million women have no health insurance. Women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, while the cost of birth control has increased as much as ten-fold in the past year for millions of women.
Regardless of age, income, and education, more than half of women (55%) surveyed say that the government should do more to solve problems and help meet people’s needs, compared to 41 percent of men. Women in this country are sending a clear message that they expect our government to do better when it comes to expanding opportunities for women and their families.
The National Women’s Law Center is here to make sure that the government is listening.
Today, NWLC is proud to release our Platform for Progress. In the coming years, actions by a new Administration, as well as Congress and the courts, will be critically important to the lives of women and their families. The Platform for Progress outlines steps that should be taken by the federal government to address the unmet needs of women and their families in schools; in the workplace; and in securing basic economic security and access to quality, affordable, and comprehensive health care.
No one likes to be made to feel like a worrywart -- yet women in this country are given little choice. Pat Schroeder, former Congresswoman and Presidential candidate, once said: “You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.” That’s why NWLC, our partners, and our supporters work on the ground and in the courts to expand the possibilities for women and their families.
It’s time for the government to really listen, and to make real progress. Only then can women and their families reach their potential and lead economically secure lives -- worry-free.
The results of the poll conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. are based on 1,001 interviews among a national cross-section of women who are registered voters, with a companion sample of 307 men. The interviews were conducted from July 17 to July 24, 2008.