Gender discrimination in the United States: Experiences of women

Gillian K. SteelFisher, Mary G. Findling, Sara N. Bleich, Logan S. Casey, Robert J. Blendon, John M. Benson, Justin M. Sayde, Carolyn Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine reported experiences of gender discrimination and harassment among US women. Data Source and Study Design: Data come from a nationally representative, probability-based telephone survey of 1596 women, conducted January-April 2017. Methods: We calculated the percentages of women reporting gender discrimination and harassment in several domains, including health care. We used logistic regression to examine variation in experiences among women by race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity. Principal Findings: Sizable fractions of women experience discrimination and harassment, including discrimination in health care (18 percent), equal pay/promotions (41 percent), and higher education (20 percent). In adjusted models, Native American, black, and Latina women had higher odds than white women of reporting gender discrimination in several domains, including health care. Latinas’ odds of health care avoidance versus whites was (OR [95% CI]) 3.69 (1.59, 8.58), while blacks’ odds of discrimination in health care visits versus whites was 2.00 [1.06, 3.74]. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) women had higher odds of reporting sexual harassment (2.16 [1.06, 4.40]) and violence (2.71 [1.43, 5.16]) against themselves or female family members than non-LGBTQ women. Conclusions: Results suggest that discrimination and harassment are widely experienced by women across multiple domains of their lives, particularly those who are a racial/ethnic minority or LGBTQ. Further policy and programmatic efforts beyond current legal protections for women are needed to meaningfully reduce these negative experiences, as they impact women's health care and their lives overall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1442-1453
Number of pages12
JournalHealth services research
Issue numberS2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • LGBTQ health
  • discrimination
  • gender and health
  • racial/ethnic differences in health and health care
  • social determinants of health
  • survey research and questionnaire design
  • women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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