Shriver Report: Women on the Brink


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On Monday, Maria Shriver, the Center for American Progress and AARP released the results of a comprehensive new poll of 3,500 Americans. The bipartisan poll--conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and TargetPoint Consulting and sponsored by AARP--reveals a public that understands the changing nature of American families, the economic stress these changes impose on women and the failure of policymakers to adapt to these changes.  In a country divided politically, the public comes together to support bold policy changes—from paid leave, to protections for pregnant workers, to pay equity—that support women and families.  This survey focuses specifically on “women on the brink:” Groups of women including those with a lower income, women of color, single mothers and others who are one misstep or one calamity away from poverty.

Among key findings of the survey:

  • An identical percentage of both men and women (71 percent) believe women are “essential” to the American economy.  
  • Nearly two in three (64 percent) believe government should “adapt to the reality of single-parent households and use its resources to help children and mothers succeed regardless of their family status.”  A much smaller 51 percent believe government should “reduce the number of children born to single-parents and use its resources to encourage marriage and two-parent households.” 
  • The current economy does not work for many women in our country.  Only 28 percent overall believe the phrase, “the harder I work, the more I fall behind,” applies to them.  This rises to 54 percent among lower income women and 48 percent among single mothers. 
  • Despite this, most of the women in the survey, including economically marginalized women, are optimistic about their future and their ability to improve their lives.  An inspiring 92 percent of women of color, for example, believe, “I have the ability to make significant changes to make my life better.”  
  • In policy terms, these women focus first and foremost on steps businesses and governments can take to accommodate family obligations.  For example, paid leave is just as important to these women as increased pay and benefits. 
  • Democrats and Republicans alike come together to support policies that adapt to new American families.  An impressive 95 percent of Democrats favor pay equity, for example, as do 88 percent of Republicans.  

Additional details about this Shriver Report’s research, including details on this poll can be found here.

In addition, those who want to hear a recording of a poll presentation given on Monday can call this number 1.855.859.2056 and enter Conference ID 33.15.68.42.