Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) released a new survey conducted by Morning Consult that revealed a disconnect between what is happening on Capitol Hill and what women actually want Congress to prioritize.
The survey revealed that nearly 6-in-10 (59 percent) women voters agree that the pandemic has been especially hard on women. Many women have had to leave the workforce to take care of their children. As a result, 59 percent of women are now more worried about their family’s access to health care than they were before the pandemic. This is a sentiment shared across political parties.
These increased burdens have impacted women’s priorities for and perceptions of Congress. Nearly half (45 percent) said economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic should be one of Congress’ top priorities. According to the survey results, this should be ahead of climate change (27 percent), immigration at the U.S. southern border (27 percent), health insurance costs and coverage (24 percent), crime in America (23 percent) and addressing inflation (22 percent).
The importance of women leaders
WIPP President & CEO Candace Waterman said, “The current public health crisis has had a profound impact on all parts of society but has disproportionately impacted women. Women entrepreneurs make up half our nation’s workforce and often serve as the caregivers and CEOs of their households. The pandemic has forced many to leave the workforce and assume the increased pressure of caring for their family’s wellbeing during a once-in-a-century pandemic. The survey shines a critical light on how women want Capitol Hill to refocus their priorities on policies that will aid our nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic and safeguard families’ access to quality care.”
American women recognize their critical role in the workforce. Sixty-four percent of respondents agree that women entrepreneurs are critical to pandemic recovery. Another 79 percent worry about the impact inflation will have on their families.
Considering health care
This concern about the country’s economic future translates to women’s priorities for health care. Approximately 85 percent of women voters say family caregivers need a health care system that supports them, not puts up barriers. They want Congress to focus on patient-centered solutions that tackle access and affordability issues. This includes reducing the overall cost of health care coverage.
Yet, there appears to be a stark disconnect between policy discussions on Capitol Hill and what women actually want Congress to prioritize for themselves and their families. The majority of women (59 percent) are concerned about Congress addressing the overall cost of health coverage, such as premiums, deductibles and co-pays, as well as the cost of prescription drugs (26 percent).
The poll showed that women initially expressed support for the government negotiating prices with drug companies to get a lower price. Seventy-two percent supported this and 12 percent opposed it. However, the data highlights that women voters may not be as supportive of negotiation tactics when learning about the potential tradeoffs.
Beyond concerns about cost and access, the survey also shed light on women’s policy priorities for female representation in health care research, funding and more. The vast majority of women voters believe investing in women’s health research (82 percent) and supporting families with young children (81 percent) are important policies.
Another 7-in-10 (69 percent) women voters said COVID-19 spotlighted the importance of diverse representation across gender, race and ethnicity, pregnancy and socioeconomic status in clinical trials. Additionally, 79 percent of women voters expressed concern about health equity. 74 percent and 61 percent were concerned about income and gender inequality, respectively.
About the Poll
This poll was conducted between November 23-November 24, 2021 among a sample of 1,000 female registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and were weighted to approximate a target sample of Female Registered Voters based on age, educational attainment, race, homeownership, race by educational attainment, 2020 presidential vote and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
About Women Impacting Public Policy
Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) is a national nonpartisan organization advocating on the behalf of women entrepreneurs. It aims to strengthen their impact on our nation’s public policy, create economic opportunities and forge relationships with other business organizations.