Nearly two-thirds of women are now their family’s primary breadwinner or co-breadwinner, and most Americans believe our workplace policies and public policies have not kept up with this change.
Washington, D.C. — On the day of the White House Summit on Working Families, the Center for American Progress released a new poll on Americans’ views of the changing role of women in the workplace. The results uncover how Americans assess discrimination in the workplace and reveal widespread support for workplace policies that support 21st century working families.
The poll found widespread agreement that despite the progress made in recent decades, more needs to be done to address workplace discrimination. A majority—51 percent—of respondents feel that women are still discriminated against in all areas of life, and the workplace is no exception. Just 42 percent, meanwhile, think that women have made most of the progress they need to achieve equality in the workplace. Among women, this feeling of continued discrimination was even more pronounced: 61 percent said that women are still discriminated against, compared to 33 percent who said that women have mostly achieved equality.
Americans believe their workplace and public policies should do more to keep up with the shifting role of women in the workplace. In fact, while nearly two-thirds of women are now their family’s primary breadwinner or co-breadwinner, just 42 percent of Americans feel that policies have entirely or mostly kept up with this change. In contrast, 53 percent think that workplace and public policies have kept up somewhat, a little, or not at all.
To that effect, survey respondents strongly support public policy solutions that would address our changing work and family life head on. Key findings include:
- More than 7 in 10 respondents—71 percent—support paid family leave for workers who have a child or an immediate family member who gets sick, including 62 percent of Republicans.
- Three-quarters support a minimum number of paid sick days per year, including 65 percent of Republicans.
- Policies that would enforce equal pay for equal work get the support of an almost-unanimous 92 percent of Americans, including across-the-board support from 98 percent of Democrats, 87 percent of Republicans, and 88 percent of independents.
The poll was conducted leading up to the June 23 White House Summit on Working Families, which will focus on elevating the ongoing national conversation about making workplaces work for everyone and ensuring that women have a fair shot to help their families succeed. It was conducted by Public Policy Polling from June 18–19, 2014, and had 832 respondents.
For more information about the Summit on Working Families, visit workingfamiliessummit.org.
To speak with CAP experts on these issues, please contact Madeline Meth at gro.ssergorpnacirema@htemm or 202.741.6277.