12th Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll Explores Americans' Opinions on Changing Gender Roles in the Economy, the Workplace and the Family
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NEW POLL: Americans
Men Willingly Make Trade-Offs to Balance Work and Family Life
having a majority of women in the workforce is an encouraging trend
for the country, despite the trade-offs that both women and men must
make to balance work and family life, according to poll results
announced today by
The 12th quarterly Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll
explored the attitudes and experiences of men and women in their home,
family and professional lives. More than half (56%) of American men
and women consider gender diversity to have a positive impact on the
economic health of the country, and 36% of men and 39% of women cite
"a flexible work schedule to pursue outside interests and spend time
with your family" as their first or second most important reason for
While full-time working women earn an average of
dollar earned by a man working full-time, the genders place different
weights on the "best explanation" for the disparity. A total of 49%
of women and 39% of men say the wage gap is caused by the fact that
many women leave jobs, scale back their hours and/or dedicate more
time than men to family care responsibilities. Only 27% of Americans
cite gender discrimination as the best explanation for the wage gap.
Overall, 79% of Americans (including 75% of women) who have held a job
believe they can advance in the workplace regardless of gender.
"This poll shows that belief in the American dream remains strong
notwithstanding our economic challenges," said
chairman, chief executive officer and president of
"Americans once again show their ability to have a sophisticated
conversation around complicated issues such as gender, economics or
race. Americans understand, as does
of the American dream. They acknowledge that gains have been made in
creating opportunity for women but that more can be done."
Fewer than half (48%) of all Americans and only 40% of women believe
that men and women have equal opportunity to advance in the workplace.
Conversely, more than two-thirds of women say they have more
opportunity than their mothers did to get ahead in society, while only
45% of men say they have more opportunity than their fathers.
"Despite the persistence of the wage gap and some continued doubts
about equal opportunity, the most powerful sentiment among women in
this poll is a sense of doors opening, especially when compared with
previous generations," said
Brownstein. "Even as both men and women wrestle with balancing their
home and work responsibilities, the poll found that the era of 'mommy
wars' between working and stay-at-home mothers is being replaced by
women who are comfortable shifting between the two roles, at a pace
and proportion that they control."
Key findings from the 12th Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor
Poll (PDF) include:
1) Americans generally believe that the change to a majority-female
workforce is encouraging and will have a positive impact on the
country, but there are wide differences between age groups.
— A total of 56% of Americans believe the changing gender makeup of
American workers is "encouraging and it will have a positive impact on
the country because the economy will benefit from a workforce that
represents more of the unique talents and skills offered by women."
— Conversely, 32% believe the change is "troubling and it will have a
negative impact on the country because it reflects a shift away from
the traditional family structure where women could devote more time to
raising children and running the household."
— Opinions dramatically differ by age group, with 74% of those aged
18-29 saying the change is encouraging, but only 41% of those age 65+
2) Americans are confident in their abilities to succeed at work
regardless of gender, despite a sense that gender inequity in
opportunity still exists.
— A total of 79% of Americans, including 83% of men and 75% of women,
who have held a job in their lives believe they can advance in the
workplace regardless of gender.
— Only 48% of Americans, and only 40% of women, believe that women
and men have equal opportunity to get ahead in American workplaces.
— While 68% of women say that they have more opportunity to get ahead
in society than their mothers had, only 45% of men see more
opportunity than their fathers.
3) Both men and women preferred more flexible work schedules and
would choose more family time over higher income.
— A total of 36% of men and 39% of women say "a flexible work
schedule to pursue outside interests and spend time with your family"
is the first or second most important reason for working. Fifty-three
percent of working moms choose a flexible work schedule as their first
or second most important reason for working.
— Given the choice between more income (requiring longer hours and
less time for family and personal life) versus more time for family
and personal life (shorter hours and less income), Americans in
working households choose more family and personal time by a 56%-35%
4) Men and women report primary family roles quite differently.
— Men: 12% say they are or were more actively involved in the care of
children, 35% name their spouse, while 52% cite equally shared
responsibilities. Women: 63% say they were primarily responsible for
children, only 1% name their spouse, and 33% say responsibilities were
— A total of 38% of men say they are primarily responsible for family
finances, while 24% name their spouse or partner and 37% say
responsibilities are shared equally. A total of 51% of women say that
they are primarily responsible for finances, 17% name their spouse or
partner and 32% cite equally shared responsibilities.
5) Financial experiences and economic outlook vary greatly across
genders and socioeconomic factors.
— A total of 48% of men rate their financial situation "excellent" or
"good" versus 42% of women.
— Men: 70% of working men with a college degree believe their
financial situation will improve, compared to 53% of working men
without a college degree.
— Women: 66% of working women with a college degree believe their
financial situation will improve, compared to 49% of working women
without a college degree. Non-married mothers are the least positive
about their financial situation.
6) Economic and political metrics demonstrate an uptick in support
of the country and of the economy.
— A total of 60% of Americans now believe the economy will improve
over the next 12 months, compared to 56% who said the same in December
2011 and 50% who said so in
— Thirty percent of Americans now believe the country is headed in
the right direction. The last two Heartland Monitor surveys measured
this sentiment at 20%. The improvement is largely due to a surge in
optimism among Democrats, with 55% now saying the country is headed in
the right direction, up from 33% in
44% in October and December of 2011, the lowest ratings in the
Heartland Monitor Poll's history. The president's numbers among
independents are now positive (49%-47%), an improvement since December
— Only 44% of Americans say they would vote to re-elect President
Obama, while 48% say they would vote for someone else. Still, this is
an improvement from
and 53% would vote for someone else.
Notes to Editors
Survey Methodology A nationally representative survey of American
18+. Respondents were reached via landline and cell phone. The survey
has a margin of error of +/-3.1% in 95 out of 100 cases.
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Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Polls, visit
http://www.allstate.com/heartland-monitor. Additional information is
available at http://www.storiesfromtheheartland.com.
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