Research From Supermajority Education Fund & Breakthrough Campaigns

5 min readSeptember 27, 2019

For Immediate Release: September 27, 2019 

Media Contact:, 646.992.8306


 Economic Unfairness, Hostile Workplaces, Constant Threat of Violence Cited as Obstacles to Gender Equality  

84% Say “Women’s Issues” are Everyone’s Issues, including Childcare, Pay Equity and Abortion

Austin, TX — September 27, 2019 — Supermajority Education Fund, a new home for women’s activism, released the results of Leading the Change: Women Voters on Gender Equality in Our Society, Work and Politics, a comprehensive study conducted by Breakthrough Campaigns that shows the majority of women voters are interested in joining a “women’s equality organization.” The lack of fairness, safety and respect for women are cited as primary obstacles to this goal today.

“As we head into 2020, we are organizing women to not only lift their voices, but to educate, train and mobilize women. We are imagining a society where women are truly equal and we’re going out and building it together,” said Ai-jen Poo, co-founder of Supermajority Education Fund and Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “There are no women’s issues and women are not a special interest group. Our survey reflects what we’ve heard from women across the country — the issues that impact women, like childcare, elder care, and access to healthcare including abortion care, affect everyone.”

Among more than 2,000 women voters surveyed, women across all demographics say the economy is not fair and is not working for them. In fact, half of women say the economy under the Trump Administration has hurt them. They report being forced to reduce or go without essentials like food and medicine. They also report having to work over-time or go into debt to stay afloat.

  • In the past two years, three in ten women have been unable to afford a health care bill or medication.
  • To make ends meet, 28% of women are working two or more jobs.
  • Among the 35% of women who’ve seen their incomes increase over the past couple of years, most say the increase has not been enough to keep up with increased cost of food and other expenses.

“Women, especially women of color, have been abandoned and punished by this system. Half of all of the women surveyed said the economy over the past couple of years has hurt them and it’s worse for women of color and those without a college degree,” said Alicia Garza, co-founder of Supermajority Education Fund, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Global Network, and principal of Black Futures Lab. “Gender equality will not be a reality until everyone — no matter your race, religion or gender or background — has an equal opportunity to rise.”

Women also still face a hostile workplace where many endure the threat of sexual harassment without consequences. Many also report being paid less for the same work as their male colleagues and being passed over for promotions because of their gender or family obligations.

  • One in three women report being sexually harassed at work.
  • 37% of women say they have been paid less than a co-worker who did the same job because they were a woman.
  • 24% of women say they have been passed over at work for a promotion because of their gender.
  • Three in ten women say they have been held back at work or suffered professional consequences because of pregnancy or children.

Safety also emerged as a primary concern for women voters. Those surveyed stated they believe safety is essential to equality and should be a right for everyone, but every day they face a constant threat of violence.

  • Nearly three in 10 women have been sexually assaulted by someone they knew.
  • More than one in three women say they have been abused or threatened by a partner or spouse.
  • More than 40% of women say they have been sexually harassed on the street or in a public place.

This research reveals what women are up against and the many ways they experience gender inequality in their homes, in the workplace and on the street. In response, women are getting active politically:

  • Three in 10 Democratic and Independent women have contacted an elected official, as have 1 in 6 Republican women.
  • Three quarters of women are interested in joining a “women’s equality organization.”

“What this study proves is that women across the country are on fire. They are raising their hands, ready to take action to change the status quo and win the fight for true gender equality,” said Cecile Richards, Supermajority co-founder and former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We are building a grassroots community of people of all backgrounds, races and ages so that in 2020 we will launch the largest woman-to-woman voter engagement program in the United States.”

Announced today in Austin, Texas at one of the stops on Supermajority Education Fund’s nationwide bus tour, this research informed the Majority Rules, the values that are critical for achieving women’s equality. The Majority Rules were written with input from tens of thousands of women to allow them to evaluate public officials, policies, platforms and any organization, and to ensure those in power make the issues women care about a priority. Supermajority Education Fund is educating, engaging and organizing women around the Majority Rules.

Breakthrough Campaigns’ research included three key sampling methods: online diaries, in-person focus groups, and quantitative polling. The polls were conducted in early September among a representative sample of 2,197 registered voters across the United States. To ensure that the sample reflected a true mosaic of women today, the polling oversampled Black/African American, Latina and Asian and AAPI women. The findings on women voters’ views on gender equality are available in more detail here.


Supermajority Education Fund focuses on research about the role and standing of women, educates the public about issues of importance to women, and supports policies that advance women. Supermajority Education Fund does not support or oppose candidates for public office or engage in partisan political activity.

All references to organizations of quoted individuals are for identification purposes only.