New Women’s Index from Hadassah Reveals Most American Women Satisfied with Work-Life Balance, Yet Nearly One in Four Female Breadwinners Left Wanting

Tuesday, Sep 2 2014

Today we released the results of our brand new survey called The Women's Index. Our goal is to increase awareness for American women's perspectives about the most critical issues of the day. Our Executive Director and CEO Dr. Janice Weinman was on CBS News Radio this morning to discuss the findings.

Survey Examining Women’s Opinions Reveals Women Recognize a Lack of Parity with Men on Critical Issues

NEW YORK—The results of a new survey released today by Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA), reveal that most women (81 percent) are satisfied with their work-life balance – although not so intensely, as only one quarter (26 percent) self-describe as “very satisfied.” According to this new survey – The Women’s Index – the demands of professional and personal lives leave one in four (24 percent) breadwinners feeling unsatisfied.

HWZOA, the largest women's Zionist membership organization in the United States, launched The Women’s Index to uncover women’s opinions on important issues today. Conducted by Luce Research, the survey asked women about work-life balance, leadership traits, gender equality, engagement and activism and policy issues.

Balancing Act Compromises Personal Relationships and Well-Being

The Index shows that when work and life are imbalanced, personal relationships and personal well-being take the biggest hits for women today. Nearly half (49 percent) say their quality time with friends and family is compromised when work responsibilities take over, while another 36 percent say personal relationships suffer. Although American women rank “being healthy” as their highest priority, 42 percent say personal health is one of the areas most negatively impacted when their work-life balance is off kilter. Exercise also takes a back seat during busy times (30 percent).

“Women are expected to juggle it all. While we continue to prove we are capable of doing so, it doesn’t mean it’s easy or that we don’t make compromises along the way,” says Marcie Natan, National President of HWZOA. “Health and wellness needs to be a priority, even in the busiest of times. At Hadassah we are dedicated to empowering women of all ages to take control of their health and providing them with the knowledge they need to make informed medical decisions for themselves and their families.”

Women Possess Same Leadership Traits as Men

Nearly half (46 percent) of women self-identify as the primary earner in their household. What’s more, the majority of women, regardless of age, believe that men and women share what women view to be the most important leadership traits, including honesty (96 percent), hardworking (83 percent) and intelligence (78 percent).

However, believing they are equal does not lead to parity with men on all critical issues. A recent report showed that while more women than men die of cardiovascular disease, only one-third of cardiovascular clinical trial subjects are female. Yet the Index reveals that nearly three in four (69 percent) women are not even aware that gender inequality in medical research exists.

On other issues, women are absolutely aware. More than half of women believe that men have advantages over women when it comes to competitive salaries (65 percent) and workplace opportunities, such as promotions (60 percent). This sentiment is more widely held among women from the Baby Boomer generation than it is among Millennials.

“It is interesting that The Women’s Index shows Millennial women – our leaders of tomorrow – hold the perspective that men and women are afforded more comparable opportunities for advancement and compensation at work,” says Dr. Janice Weinman, Executive Director and CEO of HWZOA. “I hope this is a sign that the role of women in the workplace is evolving for the better. The drive of participants in our Hadassah Leadership Fellows program exemplifies that women have great capacity to lead and spark social change.”

More Meaningful “Me Time”

One in four (23 percent) working women say that personal hobbies take a backseat when they are overwhelmed by work. Yet only 12 percent indicate they are less likely to give back to the community or volunteer for a cause during such times – perhaps a result of burgeoning “clicktivism,” using social media to promote a cause.

The Women’s Index reveals that women – both Millennials and Boomers – take a very 21st century approach to their support for issues they hold dear. Women say they are most likely to support a cause by following the issues on social media or in the news (42 percent) or signing an online petition (39 percent). More than one quarter (27 percent) of women take action by spreading the word over social media outlets, while 20 percent send emails to friends and family. And when it comes to getting involved live and in-person, Millennials are more inclined to volunteer than Boomers (24 percent v. 13 percent).

United Women Stand – the Failure of Government

According to the survey, women of all ages and religious background are united on the importance – and failure – of the government to tackle economic issues. Many Americans are worried about the economic situation, and the survey confirms that across age groups and religious backgrounds, the economy/jobs ranks as the most critical issue.

When comparing Millennials (18-35 year olds) to older women (55 years or older), the Millennials are more concerned with workplace equality (24 percent v. 11 percent) and place more weight on equal opportunity and gay marriage.

Survey Methodology

The online survey was conducted July 21-28, 2014 on behalf of Hadassah. For the survey, a sample of 800 Jewish women and 800 non-Jewish women were interviewed by Luce Research, an independent research company. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval, with a poll of n=800 accurate to ±4.0 percentage points with 95 percent credibility (and larger for subgroups).


Hadassah is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With 330,000 members, associates and supporters across the country, Hadassah brings Jewish women together to effect change and advocate on criticalissues such as medical care and research, women's empowerment, and the security of Israel. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's (HMO) two hospitals, the world-renowned trauma center and the leading research facility in Jerusalem, Hadassah supports the delivery of exemplary patient care to over a million people every year. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination in 2005 for building “bridges to peace” through equality in medical treatment. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org.

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