Are your prime working years also overwhelmed with family, health and financial concerns? You are not alone.
Two surveys last fall of more than 4,500 women in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 57 — Gen Z, Gen X and particularly Millennials — found that women feel society has made it hard for them to progress as they could and should. The findings included in theSkimm's "State of Women Report 2023" echo comments collected last year by the Arkansas Women's Commission.
The good news is women report taking more control of more aspects of their lives. "I am done letting society dictate what a woman's role should be" is a sentiment with which 83% of Millennial women agreed. Millennials, roughly ages 26 to 41 at the time of the surveys in October and November, represented two-thirds of the respondents.
TheSkimm, the online media company that produces news and features for women, concluded from the survey findings that "women across the U.S. are creating their own momentum and rewriting rules to meet their needs and fuel their ambition." Its report is sharply worded, referencing "cumulative anger and exasperation" because "prevailing systems were not built for women."
The issues women identified are familiar to women in general and to readers of The Work Wife:
money and career
health and well-being
family and motherhood
politics and representation
The categories overlap so much that they are almost indistinct. Concerns about the unpaid labor women are responsible for are closely associated with family and motherhood issues, and the mental load women bear in their professional lives is reflected in their concerns about health and well-being. The ability to earn economic security underpins everything.
Physical and mental health are top concerns among the women surveyed, with three-quarters having concluded that "I am the only advocate for my health and well-being." At least nine out of 10 Millennial women are prioritizing their health, including the need to rest, and 86% are doing at least five things to actively prioritize their well-being in 2023.
But this focus on self care, theSkimm warned, "is a double-edged sword" for the $1.5 trillion wellness industry: Women do not want to be sold unnecessary "solutions" and are turned off by marketers who are selling something that will require more of a woman's time every day.
One in five respondents said they do not have and do not plan to have children, and childlessness by choice was even more common among women in senior management positions. But prioritizing a management career wasn't the only reason for choosing to be child-free: Many said they "have ethical concerns about having children given political or environmental issues."
Political issues motivate most Millennials; 63% of respondents in that age group said it was "important" to be part of political movements, protests and marches in support of women's rights.
TheSkimm's editors distilled the findings of the two surveys into three points that executives, policymakers and employers need to keep top of mind if they hope to make loyal customers for decades to come:
Women will listen to authentic, candid voices that offer practical, functional support to make women's lives better.
"Women are looking for allies, leadership and action." Brands marketing to women need to be prepared to make long-term commitments to women's rights and equity and "to social or environmental issues that disproportionately impact women."
Women want brands to specifically spotlight women — women's issues and women's businesses — and to help women achieve positions of power.
Read more from The Work Wife on similar issues:
- Stress 101: What to Remember When You're Feeling Overwhelmed
- What a Cardiologist Wants Women to Know About Heart Health
- Just Keep Swimming: Why We’re Leaving 'Fitness Fear' Behind in 2023
- This Commission Found Child Care Central to Status of Women in Arkansas
- Mentors, Sponsors and How They Can Change Your Career Trajectory
- The Wage Gap in 2023: Inequality Persists, but Pay Transparency is Catching On