March 21, 2023
Contact: William Lutz 202-785-5100
Washington, D.C. — Three out of four adults want to see Congress pass laws strengthening equal pay laws, expanding access to child care, and guaranteeing access to paid sick leave, while two of three adults want to see Congress pass legislation securing the right to access abortion for women, according to a new poll commissioned by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and conducted by Morning Consult.
The same poll showed a strong majority also believes these issues should be an important/top priority for Congress this year.
“Equal pay, access to child care and paid leave; these are all ‘kitchen table’ issues that Americans clearly want to see Congress address,” said Daisy Chin-Lor, President and CEO of IWPR. “The gender wage gap—women earning 84 cents for every dollar a man makes—is a national disgrace. So is the fact that we continue to stack the deck against women and families by making affordable child care and paid leave luxuries beyond the reach of many. Particularly in light of the strength of support for bold action on these key issues, Congress must move legislation to right these wrongs.”
“The post-Roe world is proving a dangerous one for women seeking reproductive health services. Every day states throw up new barriers to women seeking care. This issue is fundamental to the health and well-being of women in America and there is a strong desire to see Congress act to protect women now,” said Chin-Lor.
Key poll findings
- On equal pay an income equality:
- Seventy-five (75) percent of those polled find it Very Important or Somewhat Important for Congress to pass legislation strengthening equal pay laws
- This includes 74 percent of Independents and 63 percent of Republicans.
- Sixty-six (66) percent said income inequality should be “top” or “important” priority for the federal government to address.
- On child care:
- Seventy-three (73) percent find it Very Important or Somewhat Important for Congress to pass legislation expanding access to affordable, high-quality child care and investing in early childhood education.
- This includes 70 percent of Independents and 63 percent of Republicans.
- On paid leave:
- Seventy-four (74) percent of those polled find it Very Important or Somewhat Important that Congress pass legislation guaranteeing access to paid sick leave.
- This includes 71 percent of Independents and 62 percent of Republicans.
- On reproductive health:
- Sixty-four (64) percent found it Very Important or Somewhat Important that Congress pass legislation guaranteeing the right to access to abortion for women.
- This includes 61 percent of Independents and 45 percent of Republicans.
“Members of Congress who stand in the way of meaningful progress on equal pay, child care, and paid leave are on the wrong side of public opinion,” said Chin-Lor. “They are needlessly jeopardizing the financial security of American families and holding back our economic recovery. The public clearly wants Congress to prioritize these core issues and it is time for Members, regardless of party, to put this at the top of the agenda. It is simply the right thing to do for women and their families in this country.”
Additional IWPR research hammers home the pay inequities women still endure. A recent report showed that while women are paid eighty-four (84) cents for every dollar a man makes, this gender wage gap exists across almost all occupations, even for jobs commonly held by women. Indeed, in 2022, women earned less than men for full-time weekly work in 19 of the largest 20 most common occupations for women, including teachers, nurses, and administrative assistants.
IWPR research also shows that restrictions on women’s reproductive freedoms not only harm women, but also serve as a drag on state economies. Indeed, IWPR research shows that, at the national level, state-level abortion restrictions cost $105 billion USD per year—by reducing labor force participation and earnings levels and increasing turnover and time off from work among women ages 15 to 44 years.
This poll was conducted by Morning Consult between February 2-3, 2023 among a sample of 2,201 U.S. adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, gender, race, educational attainment, region, gender by age, and race by educational attainment. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research strives to win economic equity for all women and eliminate barriers to their full participation in society. As a leading national think tank, IWPR builds evidence to shape policies that grow women’s power and influence, close inequality gaps, and improve the economic well-being of families. Learn more at IWPR.org and follow us on Twitter.