Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Survey Throws Light on Needs of Women in Workplace

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Survey Throws Light on Needs of Women in Workplace

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO _ For decades now, feminists have been trying to enlighten women and men about the differences between the male and female "experience" in the workplace.

Perhaps it's the way we communicate in meetings (or don't), what we view as offensive behavior or the reality of the "mommy track" and the "glass ceiling." In any event, women and men may have the same jobs, but they often experience them in vastly different ways.

Data from an extensive U.S. Department of Labor survey has turned some bright and helpful light on these differences.

At the very least _ considering that a quarter of a million working women responded to the Labor Department survey _ no one in a policy-making position can ever again say, "Gee, I had no idea."

Perhaps the most telling response of all, though hardly surprising, was the answer given most often to this open-ended essay question on the survey:

"If you could tell President Clinton one thing about what it's like to be a working woman, what would it be?"

More than any other response, women answered with descriptions of the difficulty in balancing work and family. Child care, particularly, is a "serious" problem.

This concern outweighed even pay inequities and discrimination in job advancement.

Imagine the same answer _ balancing home and work demands _ coming most often in a survey of male Americans.

As one Florida mother and professional wrote: "They (male bosses) act like having children is like a having a dog _ all you do is feed them and walk them once a day. If someone doesn't become more concerned about how this country's children are raised, our nation is in big trouble."

Titled, "Working Women Count," the survey was conducted through the Women's Bureau of the Labor Department. (Little known fact: The Women's Bureau has been around since 1920, when it was created by an act of Congress.)

The survey is in two parts. The first is a scientific phone sampling of 1,200 working women. …

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