The share of women who are content with their role in society has dropped to a record low point, according to a Gallup survey released Friday.
Only about four in ten women (44%) said they were satisfied with their treatment, marking a new statistical basement in the 20 years the polling company has been asking about the topic. That’s just off the 46% marks reached in 2018 and 2020.
Meanwhile, one-third of women now say they have the same job opportunities as men. That’s the lowest point since 2001.
Dissatisfaction is especially pronounced for women of color. Almost half (46%) of white women said they were content with women’s treatment, but 43% of Hispanic women and 38% of Black women felt the same way.
Six in 10 men (61%) said they were satisfied with the way women are treated in society, matching a low point first set in 2018. At the same time, 61% of men say women have equal job prospects and 61% support affirmative action for women.
Almost three-quarters of women, 72%, favor affirmative action programs for women.
Majorities of Republican men and women said they were satisfied with women’s treatment in society and their job chances, compared to a minority of Democrats who felt the same way.
Overall, the shares of men and women saying they were fine with women’s treatment in society have been slipping in the two decades of Gallup data. And the pandemic, coming after the resurgence of the #MeToo movement, has put a glaring spotlight on the issue.
“Women’s satisfaction with societal treatment of their gender is historically low and certainly has not improved even with greater awareness and sensitivity to workplace harassment and other gender equity issues,” the pollsters wrote.
Women — more likely to work in public-facing service-sector jobs impacted by COVID-19 closures — have endured much of the pandemic’s economic onslaught. That disproportionate impact has led some to call it a “she-cession.”
In the pandemic’s early phase, the jobless rate for women climbed from 4% in March 2020 to 15.5% in April 2020, while it went from 4% to 13% for men in the same period. Roughly3 million women left the workforce between February 2020 and January 2021, according to RAND Corporation researchers.
Women also had to juggle the brunt of child-care duties, with many kids attending school remotely last year and narrowing options for affordable child care. While 57% of mothers said their work had become harder, 47% of fathers said the same, the Pew Research Center said in January.
Gallup conducted its news poll of 1,381 adults from June to July, well ahead of the September jobs report released last week.
As the economy tries to rebound, the latest Labor Department numbers weren’t rosy for female workers. The number of women on payrolls decreased by 26,000, while it grew by more than 200,000 for men, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.
Overall, women have 2.9 million fewer jobs than they did before the pandemic, the organization said in a report last week. The job count for men is 2.1 million lower than the pre-pandemic level.
“This was the first decline in women’s payroll employment since December 2020, showing that our ‘she-cession’ is far from over,” said C. Nicole Mason, the organization’s president and CEO.