Poll: Women Strive To Find Balance

Women and money, finance, generic woman gender symbol over money and numbers CBS/The Early Show

While half of women say it is preferable for women to work while they are raising a family, a significant majority think most women are conflicted about raising a family and working. And even though most credit the women's movement with making their lives better, few women call themselves a feminist outright. (Read the complete poll results )

WORK AND FAMILY

Forty-eight percent of women think it is preferable for women to work while they are raising children, but a third says it is not. Women under age 45 are more likely than those who are older to say it is preferable for women to work.

IS IT PREFERABLE FOR WOMEN TO WORK WHILE RAISING A FAMILY? (Among women)

Yes
48%

No
33%

Don't know
19%

travels to her Michigan hometown to monitor the progress of women
Among women currently working, 47 percent agree that it is preferable for women to work while raising a family, while 35 percent disagree.

Opinion is more divided, however, among working women with children under 18.

Still, most women see a conflict between working full-time and raising a family. Sixty-eight percent of women admit that most women they know think there is a conflict; just a quarter say there is not. Women of many demographic groups, and especially working mothers, say most women they know think there is a conflict between working and raising a family.

DO MOST WOMEN SEE A CONFLICT BETWEEN WORKING AND RAISING A FAMILY? (Among women)

Yes
68%

No
26%

Three in four women say most women work today because they need to support themselves and their family; only 13 percent say women work because they want to. Twenty-two percent of men say women work because they want to. Younger and older women agree that most women work because they need to.
Women with household incomes over $50,000 a year are just as likely as those earning less to say most women work because they need to. Among
working women, 73 percent say most women work because they have to.

DO MOST WOMEN WORK BECAUSE THEY NEED TO OR BECAUSE THEY WANT TO? (Among women)

Need to
75%

Want to
13%

THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT AND FEMINISM

Most women give credit to the women's movement for improving their lives. Sixty-five percent say achievements by the women's movement have made their lives better. This number is similar to what it was last May, but significantly higher than it was in 1999 when barely half said the women's movement had made their lives better. A New York Times Poll conducted in 1983 found just 25 percent of women said the women's movement had improved their lives.
  • Sean Alfano

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