WASHINGTON, D.C. -- This International Women’s Day, Gallup looks at U.S. women’s equality with men in the spheres of wealth, health, work and other life dimensions.
1. Women Rate Finances Similarly but Harbor More Financial Anxiety
Women rate their financial situation similarly to men, with roughly equal percentages describing their financial situation as “excellent” or “good.” Similar proportions also report they have enough money to live comfortably right now. Further, men and women are equally likely to say they have money invested in the stock market, an important indicator of financial means.
However, despite these similarities, women are significantly more likely than men to say they worry about a number of financial matters. Chief among these is not having enough money to pay their normal monthly bills, with nearly half of women (47%) compared with a third of men (34%) being “very” or “moderately” worried about this.
Women also express more concern than men about paying for routine or emergency healthcare, as well as covering housing costs and maintaining their standard of living.
Gender differences are lower when it comes to making minimum payments on credit cards (a relatively low-level worry for both) and having enough money for retirement (a uniformly high-level worry).
2. Unequal Workplace Perceptions
Women’s greater anxiety about finances also appears in employed women’s lower satisfaction than employed men’s with certain aspects of their job.
Women are significantly less satisfied than men in four areas: the amount of money they earn, the health insurance benefits their employer offers, their on-the-job stress and their ability to work remotely.
Women and men have similar satisfaction levels in the other eight key job aspects reviewed for this analysis. Most notably in the context of finances, this includes satisfaction with their chances for promotion, the amount of work required of them and their employer’s retirement plan.
3. Women More Likely Than Men to Delay Medical Care
Most women and men say they have health insurance, and large majorities of both groups describe their healthcare coverage and the quality of healthcare they receive as excellent or good. Just over half of each group is also satisfied with the total cost they pay for healthcare.
At the same time, women are much more likely than men to report they delayed medical treatment of some kind in the past 12 months because of the cost -- 43% and 32%, respectively. That 11-percentage-point difference is fairly typical of the gender gap in delayed treatment since Gallup began tracking this in 2001.
4. Discontent With Abortion Laws Surges
Recent changes in states’ ability to outlaw abortions within their borders, starting with passage of a restrictive Texas law that took effect in September 2021 and the Supreme Court’s overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision last June, have markedly altered how women look at abortion laws in the U.S.
After two decades when no more than a quarter of women were dissatisfied with the nation’s abortion laws because they wanted them to be less strict, that view jumped to 32% in January 2022 and 50% in January 2023.
These past two years are also the first in Gallup’s trend that more women are dissatisfied with abortion laws on the basis of their being too strict rather than not strict enough. Meanwhile, the percentage of women satisfied with the nation’s abortion laws has dwindled to 23%, tied for the lowest in the trend.
5. Views of Women’s Position in Society Hold Steady
Despite the seismic shift of late in women’s attitudes on abortion, 58% of women in January said they are satisfied with the position of women in the nation, which is in line with the level seen over the past six years, but lower than between 2001 and 2008.
Men are slightly more likely to be satisfied with women’s position in the country than are women, but the seven-point gap is similar to what it has been in most years since 2001.
6. Women Fear More for Their Personal Safety
Gallup finds a 38-point difference in women’s versus men’s worry about being sexually assaulted -- the largest gender difference in anything reviewed for this article. Close to half of women report worrying about this frequently or occasionally, contrasted with just 9% of men.
Women also worry more than men about being mugged and having their home burglarized while they are there. Historically, women were also much more worried than men about being murdered and being attacked while driving; but the gender gaps on these two crimes have narrowed since 2020 as men’s concern has surged even more than women’s has. As a result, the current gender differences in worry about these are not statistically significant. Additionally, there are no gender gaps in concern about being victimized by other forms of theft.
7. Women as Satisfied as Men With Most Major Life Aspects
Women are as likely as men to say they are satisfied with eight of nine major aspects of life measured in January. Gender parity is seen in satisfaction with several important elements of equal opportunity, such as education, housing, community, job and personal health.
Women and men are also equally content with two indicators of a good quality of life -- their family life and the amount of leisure time they have.
But echoing their relatively high financial worries, women are somewhat less satisfied than men with their household income.
When asked about their satisfaction with their personal life more broadly, 83% of women and 84% of men are at least somewhat satisfied, but women edge out men by 54% to 46% in being very satisfied.
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