Past CivicScience polling data have uncovered several imbalances between men and women that have been amplified by the pandemic. Many of those disparities were brought to light in a March 2021 study, such as poorer mental health and greater financial, job, and even food insecurity.
It’s well-known that a greater number of women than men left the workforce or reduced their hours as the result of COVID-19 disruptions to family life, resulting in lost wages and professional growth. Now, new reports suggest that many women are returning to jobs as the pandemic’s concerns fade. However, data suggest the playing fields are still unequal.
Here are three important insights that help to paint the picture of where women in the U.S. stand today.
Women remain financially worse off.
A look at how U.S. adults rate their financial status pre- and post-pandemic shows that men and women tend to follow the same patterns. Overall, numbers have improved this quarter from 2022 for both men and women, but women continue to trail behind men in terms of financial health. As of Q1-2023, one-third of women say they are ‘worse’ off (compared to 32% of men). Far fewer women than men report they are ‘better’ off now (27% compared to 32% of men) and a declining percentage say they are ‘the same’ (40%).
When it comes to jobs, CivicScience data show women are more likely to be working either partially or fully remotely, whereas men are more likely to work fully in-person. More women report being unemployed and unable to find work (7% compared to 5% of men) and not employed by choice (31% compared to 25% of men).
However, outlook on the future of jobs and income appears to be more even between men and women. Forty percent of women and 39% of men say they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ concerned about their current employment situation. That concern jumps even higher among parents aged 18-54 – to 53% of mothers and 51% of fathers.
Women reported significantly higher stress levels throughout the pandemic.
Emotional well-being is one area where men and women differ drastically. The CivicScience Well-Being Index tracks this ongoing divide on a daily basis, where women consistently report higher levels of emotions such as stress. Today, 59% of women say they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ stressed, compared to just 49% of men.
U.S. women report poorer overall health than U.S. men.
With greater financial insecurity and higher stress levels, it’s not surprising that women tend to report poorer overall health compared to men. The majority of Americans generally rate their health in good standing, but 77% of men say they are are ‘very’ or ‘pretty’ healthy compared to just 73% of women. And 27% of women say they are unhealthy, compared to 22% of men. That said, it’s clear the overall health of all American adults has waned over the course of the pandemic and continues to decline.
Additionally, new CivicScience findings suggest that Long Covid continues to have an increased negative impact on women – 24% of women have had to stop working or reduce their hours due to Long Covid, versus 16% of men.
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