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2020 women’s survey: Pay equity, affordable child care and confidence emerge as top issues


As part of our annual women’s survey, we asked audience members to tell us both about the progress and momentum they’ve seen around women’s leadership and about how we can best serve you through our content. We will be incorporating this feedback into some exciting initiatives going forward.

Thanks to all those who took time to give us a pulse on key issues affecting professional women in the state, we have this analysis to share with you. This piece includes just some of what we heard in the survey. We will continue to use survey responses in different stories throughout the year. Every respondent has a different worldview, and we see it as our role to help bring all those perspectives to life.

For the first time, we asked someone to be a guest editor for our survey analysis. Sara Kurovski graciously agreed. Kurovski wears several different hats: She is the mayor of Pleasant Hill, a candidate for Polk County Board of Supervisors and the Tocqueville Society director at United Way of Central Iowa. You can read her analysis of the survey with each question and get a glimpse of what a typical day looks like for her in the photos.
– Emily Barske, associate editor

The single biggest challenge facing women in business is:
Word map analysis showed the key terms respondents used included: pay equity, child care, unconscious bias and confidence.

Guest Editor Sara Kurovski: “The broken rung.” For the fifth year in a row, McKinsey & Co., in partnership with LeanIn, has produced the Women in the Workplace Report. The report states, “For every 100 men promoted and hired to manager, only 72 women are promoted and hired. This broken rung results in more women getting stuck at the entry level and fewer women becoming managers.” This has a direct effect on the number of women who are qualified for the next level of promotions.

The lack of recognition (institutional, financial, advancement) for women’s emotional labor on the job.
Anna Clark, assistant professor, Drake University

Unequal pay. Too many men hire only men.

Bunny Bruning, tennis director, Wakonda Club

Advancement in what is still/often a predominantly male executive team.

Lore McManus Solo, owner/president, the Solo Consultancy

Courage — nothing comes easy and sometimes we settle for less than is possible.

Mona Bond, president, Capitol Communications Inc.

Desire to get engaged. There are so many opportunities outside of business, women may decide they can ignore it — to the detriment of the futures of business success.

Mary Kramer, U.S. ambassador (retired)

Guilt. Guilt from others and guilt we inflict on ourselves. Guilt we inflict on ourselves: We feel guilty if we have to come in late or leave work early. And we also feel guilty when we miss spending time with our children because of work. We try so hard to do it all and be everything to everyone, but in the end something has to give. Guilt from others — especially male co-workers, who fundamentally have a different mindset — can be just as crippling. Guilt from female co-workers with attitudes of “I managed to handle it all, so why can’t you” is also a problem.

Karen Johnson, vice president assistant controller, Meredith Corp.

Being perceived as both competent and caring.

Cecelia Munzenmaier, owner, Writing Resources

See the full women’s survey here.

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