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The Women’s Poll: What we learned

Nearly 75,000 women across race, age, and background (and all 50 states!) took the Women’s Poll in August and told us what it means to be a woman in America today. The responses helped shape the Majority Rules—the values women say are critical to achieving equality.

Here’s what we learned:

Gender

For some of us, our gender defines our existence, informing our purpose and worldview, acting as an access point or an impediment. For others, gender is a less prominent part of who we are, with other aspects of who we are (e.g. race, nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation) coming first.

On the whole, women are proud of our gender identity:

  • 70% of women agree that their gender is a source of pride

Most of us realized the world treats us differently than men from a very young age:

  • 53.2% of women knew before age 13
  • An additional 29.6% of women knew before age 20

Some women shared their specific realizations:

The day my brother was born. My dad was on the phone with someone: ‘I finally got my boy.’ He had three daughters. He was a great dad, but this has obviously stuck with me.”

“I am a dark-skinned woman, so most of the discrimination I suffer is because of being brown. Some of my own extended family (I’m interracial) and kids from school were openly racist toward me since I was in kindergarten, that’s when I learned the world treated me differently because of the color of my skin. Now I realize it was not just my complexion, but also the fact that I was female that made people think they had a right to put me down. So I cannot pinpoint a time when I realized, I just know that discrimination has been, is, and always will be a part of my life because nothing scares the patriarchy more than an empowered female of color.”

Additionally, the majority of our poll takers reported that being a woman affects their experiences most at work, in the classroom, and on the sidewalk.

Money

We all know that women get paid less than men—white women are paid $0.77 for every $1 a white man makes, Black women just $0.61, and Latinx women just $0.53. And yet, women are typically tasked with making most of the household decisions when it comes to money.

Women who took our poll reported that they are most worried about saving for emergencies or unexpected expenses, saving for retirement, and paying off credit card bills. 

  • 45% of women said they’re worried about saving money for emergencies or unexpected expenses
  • 40% of women said they’re worried about saving for retirement
  • 24% of women said they’re  worried about paying off credit card bills

Younger women were most stressed about student loans, while older women worried most about retirement and Social Security.

Imagining the future

We are working to better understand and increase civic participation through education and research, which means asking women what the future would look like if we are truly equal.  

When asked what excites them most about imagining the future, women chose “living in a world where half of elected offices are held by women.”

  • 35% are most excited about a future where half of all elected offices are held by women
  • 33% of women are most excited about a future where there’s an iron-clad right to contraception and abortion
  • 29% of women are most excited about a future where women are seen as authority figures and thought leaders in all aspects of society

Equal pay at work topped the ideal future scenario for Black and Latinx women. Women of child-raising age were excited about a future with paid family leave and affordable child care, while younger women were more likely to imagine a world in which women can live without fear for their safety.

Activism

Call it activism, volunteerism, or getting involved. But whatever you call it, we were curious what women are doing to roll up their sleeves and create a better world.

When asked, “What do you think it will take to build the world we want to live in?” here’s what women said:

  • 65% of women said getting money out of politics
  • 61% of women said volunteering
  • 50% said changing our culture to value women and girls 

Many women are already taking steps to advocate for this change—with half of women saying they’ve stood up for an issue or a candidate in the past. 

  • 21% of women said they knock doors, attend rallies, and always bring their friends along
  • 51% said they’ve stood up for issues or candidates in the past

Ready to be a part of it or take the next step? Over the next year, we’ll be harnessing the power of women to build a more equitable world. The first step: run the largest women-to-women voter contact program in 2020.

Get started by taking the Majority Rules pledge.