Health, work-life balance remain barriers for women, survey respondents say

Published by Nicole Grundmeier on

This coverage is from the Business Record’s annual survey on women’s and gender issues as part of our Fearless initiative. While nonscientific, we believe the results of this questionnaire illustrate current opinions about Iowa women’s equity in and outside of work. Read previous coverage here.

We asked those taking our gender issues survey a variety of questions about women’s equity, both in work and life. We are including only a sampling of answers from respondents who identify as women and nonbinary.

We asked: What are the biggest challenges, obstacles or barriers that you and other women face outside of work?

“Diet culture and body shaming, mental health stigmas, a lack of research and knowledge about medical conditions that overwhelmingly affect us.”

“Work-life balance. Unwanted male attention. As a young professional and young person, it can be a challenge discovering who you are when there are societal expectations for who you should be.”

“Reproductive rights.”

“Time! We are expected to handle almost everything and work a 40 hour-plus week.”

“The deterioration of reproductive rights is very distressing. How can Iowa be a great place to have a career and raise a family when the environment is so hostile to women? The environment has become hostile toward people that do not fit a certain mold. This hostility is especially challenging to women when compared to men.”

“Outside of work, women face a range of challenges and obstacles that are often interconnected with broader societal structures and cultural norms. Some of the significant challenges include: gender-based violence, unequal care responsibilities, reproductive rights and health, economic empowerment, political participation and representation, education and literacy, health disparities, discrimination and stereotypes.”

“Acquiring loans. Representation on local boards and councils.”

“Preschool education and quality child care. I have grandchildren, and it is greatly disappointing to see our state (led by a working woman) refuse federal dollars to help solve a problem (of availability and affordability) that impacts multiple generations.”

“The social stigma given to women who choose to make their career at home raising their families needs to stop. When our youngest went to private, Catholic school, I felt inferior to the women who stayed home and could gather together for social support. This was my own feeling, but wouldn’t it be nice if women supported women in their decision to have a career/job or to stay at home?”

“The same work-life balance as always. We’re supposed to work like we don’t have kids, and be there for our kids like we don’t have a career. There is no winning. Personally, the mental load of being a housekeeper and an executive is daunting. I have a great partner, but I still feel that the cleaning of the house, the laundry, the grocery shopping, etc., is my responsibility – on top of being the breadwinner.”

“Our state’s old-fashioned approach to women’s health care. Too many common women’s health concerns are routinely dismissed as ‘women’s issues.’ Yet there are dozens of clinics, providers, pills, etc., much more readily available to men for them to ‘feel like men again.’”

“Taking care of aging parents.”

“Health care discrimination. Between getting older and being female, I don’t get the doctors to look at what I need or the insurance doesn’t cover it because it’s ‘not needed.’”

“Respect for the responsibilities of being a wife, mother, daughter, etc.”

Categories: Leadership