Originally created 09/05/97

Working women just getting by



WASHINGTON -- Despite solid economic growth and low inflation, working women say making ends meet has become more difficult in the last five years, an AFL-CIO survey found.

Thirty-seven percent of the women surveyed replied that making a living has become harder, compared with 29 percent who said it has gotten easier, according to the study, Ask a Working Woman.

Thirty-two percent also complained that their jobs do not provide equal pay for equal work, despite near-unanimity (99 percent) that equality is important.

"Equal pay was women's No. 1 concern," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney told reporters Thursday on the eve of the Working Women Working Together conference to craft an agenda on issues facing working women.

The survey found that 64 percent of working women earned half or more of their household incomes.

"Sixty-one million American women work for pay, and their families rely on those paychecks," Mr. Sweeney said. "The economic recovery alone will not solve the issues working women raised in response to this survey."

"So we intend to do even more organizing to address their concerns," he added, announcing "new efforts to promote equal pay and improve child care for working families."

Sixty-two percent of working mothers with children under 6 say child care is "very important," the survey found, but just 13 percent of them have jobs that provide such programs.

Forty-one percent of the respondents also contended that job security has gotten worse for women in the last five years of corporate downsizing and layoffs.

Mr. Sweeney also announced creation of the Working Women Working Together Network to organize union and nonunion women to work for change in the workplace.