The New Normal: Women, the Workplace, and Pandemic Politics

Read the memo here and, the press release here.
Read more in The 19th and watch the replay of the virtual discussion of The New Normal.

Across the country, women are economically stressed, struggling with mental health, and concerned about the state of the country, yet they are also galvanized in support of improving healthcare systems, electing women to public office, and seeing the first Black woman Supreme Court justice. The New Normal reveals the ongoing impact of the pandemic two years since Covid-19 emerged.


Key Takeaways:

Women feel increasingly burned out, disengaged with politics, and disillusioned with elected officials.

  • Nearly 50% of women feel more burned out than usual.
  • 53% of women believe that elected officials have let people down and not delivered results.
  • 41% of women today say that they are more tuned out from politics, a +12 rise from 2021.
  • Women of color and women under age 40, in particular, reported an even more drastic rise in their disengagement levels, at 49% (a +20 increase from 2021) and 55% (up +22 from 2021), respectively.

The economy and inflation continue to be issues of concern and stress for women.

  • Among women overall, 59% indicated pessimism about the economy (compared to 48% in 2021).
  • 50% of women surveyed said that their financial situation has gotten worse since the pandemic began, an increase of 11% from 2021.
  • When asked which issues will be most important in deciding who to vote for in 2022, 36% of women said “the economy.” “Inflation” tied with “healthcare” as the third most common issue, named by 26% of women.

There is rising consensus among women that life will never “go back to normal.”

  • In 2021, 26% of women surveyed said that life “will never go back to normal” due to the pandemic. This year, an additional 14% of women expressed the same sentiment, for a total of 40% of women overall.
  • 77% of women believe that the pandemic will have long-lasting impacts on women and their careers.

Women say that the pandemic has irrevocably exposed cracks in healthcare, the workforce, and caregiving structures.

  • Nearly all women believe we need better, more affordable healthcare.
  • 82% of all women, including 73% of Republican women, agree that we need to expand Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Almost 80% of women indicated that the pandemic has made them more supportive of paid sick leave and paid family or maternity leave.
  • More than three in four women believe that the 9-5 work model is outdated.
  • 56% of mothers with children under 18 say that it has been harder than ever to balance caregiving with other responsibilities.

Women voters view women leaders as a positive influence, and support electing women to political office.

  • 54% of survey respondents said that the record number of women in Congress has had a positive impact on women’s lives.
  • Three in four Democrats and over half of Independents want to see more women in office.
  • 83% of women believe that the first Black woman Supreme Court justice will inspire other women of color to dream big and be the “first” in their field.


Benenson Strategy Group conducted 801 online interviews nationwide from February 10 15, 2022 among women who are likely 2022 voters. The margin of error for the dataset overall is +/ 3.5% at the 95% confidence level and is higher among subgroups. Due to rounding, some percentages may not add up to 100%.


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