Seventy percent of women cite being paid less than men for the same work as a big problem, with half saying that it’s major, according to a new poll from the EMILY’s List-affiliated group American Women.
“The only area I feel I have been treated differently (and still am) because I am a woman is in the salary area,” Evangelina, a 44 year old respondent, said. “The men who are doing the same thing I am and I might add, are not as successful, make significantly more.”
Meanwhile, 60 percent of women say they have a harder time getting ahead than men, while less than a third say men and women have equal chances. More than 70 percent say employer discrimination is a problem, with almost a third saying it’s a major problem. African-American women are the most likely to see it as a major concern.
Problems follow women into their homes, too. Two-thirds struggle with balancing work and family. Nearly 60 percent say that the lack of affordable childcare presents a problem as well.
The women who were surveyed also voice strong support from some policy changes that could help them advance. Two-thirds say the U.S. needs better work/family policies, such as expanding paid sick and family leave as well as flexible work hours. A majority support increasing the number of trained, qualified caregivers. About half want to improve the quality of preschool and child care programs, while the same amount want to invest in high-quality pre-K programs. A majority want to make it easier for women to find out if they are paid less than men and fight for equal pay.
Other surveys have shown that 30 percent of women report experiencing discrimination in the workplace. Thirty-one percent say they would be paid more if they were a man. In fact, 13 percent of respondents to another survey said they have been denied a raise due to gender, while 15 percent said they were passed over for a promotion.
The lived experience of discrimination shows up in the numbers. Women make less as soon as they graduate college and the gap persists no matter how much education they get, what job or industry they enter, or how high they rise.