By The Star Staff
A survey on working women conducted by the Statistics Institute and the Women’s Advocate Office found that only 22% of women held supervisory positions and 95% have more than one job, while 24% have experienced gender discrimination.
The study, titled “The Needs of Working Women,” relied on the collaboration and participation of 13,283 people surveyed. The joint effort sought to identify the needs and challenges of working women using empirical evidence and thus provided bases to identify possible solutions to the different situations faced by working women in Puerto Rico, according to a statement issued Wednesday.
Under the motto “We Are All Working Women,” the electronic questionnaire was aimed at working women in different sectors, including the public and private sectors, housewives, caregivers, businesswomen and those who work independently. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. The topics addressed in the survey included work situation, work environment, breastfeeding, motherhood, home structure and needs, quality of life, and physical and emotional health.
The results of the study showed that: 95% of the working women surveyed had one or more jobs, 38% worked in an agency or branch of government, and 22% held supervisory positions; 44% indicated they had not received guidance on the Affirmative Action Plan, followed by 36% who were unsure.
In terms of the ability of working women to take care of their newborns, 47% indicated that their place of employment does not have a breastfeeding room, and 64% of the women who used a breastfeeding room provided by the employer considered that the time offered was not adequate.
However, 72% of pregnant women surveyed indicated that their employer always provided them with flexibility to attend medical appointments and address symptoms during pregnancy.
Regarding gender violence, 34% indicated having been a victim of workplace harassment, 24% indicated having been a victim of domestic violence, and 24% indicated they had experienced gender discrimination.
Regarding their housing needs, 47% of working women indicated that they were the legitimate owner and were still paying the mortgage on a home; 57% had one to two sons or daughters, and 34% of the women surveyed expressed the need for a caregiver for their children, dependents or family members.
Regarding their quality of life, and physical and emotional health: the majority indicated having a good level of emotional and physical health, 63% experience or have experienced a “double work day,” and 51% indicated that painful menstruation incapacitates them between one and two days a month.
About 46% of women surveyed were 50 years old or older, 73% had reached a high school and/or master’s degree, and 70% had a family income equal to or less than $41,500 annually.
“I thank the thousands of women who participated in this important study. Your detailed input will allow us to take action and create initiatives aimed at companies and employers so that they can improve and reinforce the areas of greatest need,” Interim Women’s Advocate Madeline Bermúdez Sanabria said. “In our office we continue to be in the best position to help women and ensure that their rights are fulfilled in the personal and work sphere.”