Affordable Health Care Tops the List of Women's Economic Concerns

August 9, 2006 ( - The "Ask a Working Woman" survey, conducted by the AFL-CIO, indicates health care costs, corporate accountability and retirement security are women's election-year priorities.

Among the 22,000 women who participated, 95% consider the rising cost of affordable, quality health care their top concern. Sixty-five percent of women rank health care as their top legislative priority, according to the news release.

Despite the consensus of women’s legislative priorities, the intensity level of women regarding legislative priorities varies across race. White women surveyed rank health care as their legislative priority 68% of the time, while black female participants ranked health care as a top legislative priority 50% of the time.

The survey shows a great majority of working women are concerned about the future of young women going into the workforce (89%), and the concern for the next generation of women is even greater among women without college degrees (93%.)

In regard to corporate accountability, the survey revealed 48% of women want to limit CEO pay when workers are being laid off or losing benefits. Forty-seven percent want to protect employees’ rights to pay and retirement benefits if a company goes bankrupt.

According to the news release, the survey found 38% of working women say they make all or most of their family income and 75% of all women reported making half or more than half. One-third of women surveyed work evenings, nights and weekends. Two in five women work different shifts than their partners or husbands and the percentage is higher among black women. Over 20% work two or more jobs.

“The impact of these numbers is clear,” Elizabeth Bunn, secretary-treasurer of the United Auto Workers, said in the news release. “Women are carrying full loads at work, putting in long days, sometimes at irregular hours, and sacrificing time with their families just to make ends meet.”

The AFL-CIO “Ask a Working Woman” survey began on June 7, 2006 and is the company’s sixth survey since 1997. The National Council of Women’s Organizations and Mom’ also participated in the survey.