By John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira
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The Center for American Progress, in conjunction with A Woman’s Nation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and TIME magazine, conducted a landmark study in the summer of 2009 into public attitudes about women, society, and the workplace. Women are approaching the historic milestone of constituting half of the workforce, and the study sought to determine how Americans felt about a range of changes in the nature of modern family life and work.
The survey of 3,413 adults, conducted by Abt SRBI, included an oversample of Latinos, and found that Latino attitudes were basically in line with those of other groups on nearly every indicator. Some minor differences did emerge in terms of the intensity of these beliefs and the degree of consensus about an issue. But, as was found with the overall population, Latinos accept and welcome the rising status of women in American life and report many of the same needs as others in terms of balancing work and family life.
Some of the more interesting findings that emerged from the analysis include:
- Latino attitudes about the rise of women in the workforce are as positive as any group in America
- Latinos are more focused on having a fulfilling a job and are much more likely to want their daughters to have an interesting career
- Majorities of Latinos favor a traditional family structure, but they are less concerned than other groups about children growing up without a stay-at-home parent
- Latinos are more likely than others to look to one another in their relationships for financial support and household decision making
- Latino men report much higher rates of primary responsibility for child care than men overall but much greater difficulty getting time off for work to care for their children
- Latinos hold more progressive attitudes than the population at large in terms of the role of women in politics
- Latinos are among the strongest proponents of new policies to improve work-life balance
More extensive research would be needed to fully understand the range of opinions among Latino subgroups, but the findings suggest that Latinos express consensus and common perspectives—among themselves and in relation to the overall population—about the expanded role of women in society and the economy. Both Latino men and women welcome the increased participation of women in business and public life, particularly among parents thinking about the future careers of their own daughters. And they understand the need for greater cooperation and stronger public policies to help negotiate the difficulties of modern family life.
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John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira are both Senior Fellows at American Progress.