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Like actor Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie "Jerry McGuire," "Show me the money" could be working women's slogan, according to a new survey.
The most frequently cited response to an inquiry about what is very important to working women was equal pay for equal work. Some 94% of working women surveyed this year by the AFL-CIO said equal pay for equal work is "very important," and another 5% called the issue "somewhat important."
Yet only 62% of the more than 50,000 women surveyed said their jobs currently offer equal pay for equal work.
The Washington-based AFL-CIO plans to launch a new campaign to promote equal pay for women, according to Gloria Johnson, AFL-CIO vp and chairwoman of the committee on women workers.
"Equal pay is women's top concern, and we will respond with a grass-roots campaign that makes women's wages the public issue it deserves to be," she said. "Each woman should not have to fight individually for fair pay. The system needs to treat women fairly."
Women workers' other top concerns include: having a safe and healthy workplace, which 93%
of respondents cited as very important; secure, affordable health insurance, cited by 87%; paid sick leave, cited by 82% of women; pension and retirement benefits, cited by 79%; and punishment
for sexual harassment, cited by 78%.
Employers excel in providing safe and healthy workplaces, according to the respondents. Eighty-nine percent of the women said their jobs provide a safe and healthy workplace.
However, only 68% of the women said they receive health insurance, the same amount that said they receive paid sick leave.
Sixty-five percent of the respondents said they receive pension and retirement benefits, the same amount that reported sexual harassment is punished in their workplace.
The AFL-CIO Working Women's Department collected written survey responses from more than 50,000 women nationwide and employed the public opinion research firm of Lake, Sosin, Snell, Perry & Associates to conduct a scientific telephone survey of 725 women.
Although mainstream benefits such as health insurance and pensions were cited frequently as very important to working women, only one-third of women said child care is very important, and only one-quarter said elder care is very important.
However, working women feel much more strongly about paid family leave and flexibility. Seventy percent of those surveyed said paid leave to care for sick family members is very important, and 61% said flexible hours or control over their own hours is very important.
Only 52% of surveyed women receive paid family leave, while 61% said that they have flexible hours or control over their own hours.
Copies of the report, "Ask a Working Woman," are available from the AFL-CIO Working Women's department, 888-971-9797.