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Worried, Invisible, and Unheard: Women Voters 50-Plus Speak Out

She's the Difference: Focus Groups with Women Ages 50 and Older

Women over 50 are lamenting the state of the country, particularly its political divisions. While some women are enjoying their careers, hobbies, or grandchildren, many describe medical worries, financial pressures, bias and discrimination, and a sense that “their golden years” are not what they expected. Almost to a person, women feel unheard by politicians today, and many describe themselves as “invisible” at work and in public life. 

Key Findings

  • Most women see a country in trouble.
     
  • Inflation dominates, with profound impacts.

  • But there are other salient issues — like crime, Ukraine, and (with Democrats) abortion and climate change.

  • Many also worry about the future for young people.

  • Many see their lives as not what they expected.

  • Most feel unheard and invisible, at work and in politics.

  • Nearly all imagine a woman-run world as infinitely better in collaboration, empathy, and no-nonsense.

  • Women are frustrated by politicians, struggling to find a balance between a politician’s policy positions and their character.

  • Across most groups, “personal responsibility” ranks highest as a value, followed by “morality” and “equality,” yet these words carry different meanings for different people.

  • Most see elected officials as not understanding their lives, particularly on caregiving or living paycheck to paycheck. 

  • Despite these challenges, many still choose to feel optimistic about their own lives.

Methodology

Six focus groups were conducted May 23–25, 2022 by a bipartisan team of pollsters: GBAO, Echelon Insights, Lake Research Partners, and Bellwether Research. The six groups  comprised: (1) White Republican women, ages 50 and older; (2) Latinas, ages 50 and older; (3) Undecided women, ages 50 and older; (4) Black women, ages 50 and older; (5) White Democratic women, ages 50 and older;  and (6) Asian American and Pacific Islander women, ages 50 and older. Each group consisted of 7 to 10 participants. 

Qualitative research findings are directional and not projectable onto the population at large. Responses were lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

For more information, contact Rachelle Cummins at rcummins@aarp.org. Media inquiries should be directed to External Relations at media@aarp.org.

Suggested citation:

Cummins, Rachelle L. She’s the Difference: Focus Groups with Women Ages 50 and Older. Washington, DC: AARP Research, June 2022. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00558.001 

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