Global study: Half of men think they’re expected to do too much in the fight for gender equality

Despite this, attitudes are changing: two-thirds say achieving gender equality is personally important, including six in ten American men

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President and Ipsos Global Advisor Lead
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Washington, D.C., March 4, 2019 — The new Ipsos survey across 27 countries, conducted in collaboration with the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London and International Women’s Day, finds the majority of men agree that women won’t achieve gender equality without their support – but half believe they are expected to do too much to support women’s equality.

Globally, two-thirds (65%) believe that women won’t achieve equality in their country unless men take actions to support women’s rights too. A quarter (25%) disagree. Three in five men (61%) agree compared to seven in ten women (69%). Views among Americans are on par with the 27-country average: 61% believe women won’t achieve equality in America without men taking action, including 60% of American men and 62% of American women. In fact, one of the actions Americans feel is most likely to make a positive impact in achieving equality between men and women is more men speaking out when women are treated unfairly because of their gender (66%), second only to equal pay for the same work (70%). American men and women are nearly in agreement, with 63% of men and 68% of women saying men speaking out would have a positive impact.

However, people are split on whether too much is being expected of men to help the fight for equality. Overall, 43% agree that men are being expected to do too much to support women’s equality in their country (46% disagree), including half of all men. Agreement is highest in many Latin American and Asian countries (Colombia and Mexico at 61% Peru 62%, and Malaysia and India 60%). Fewer Americans believe men are expected to do too much to support gender equality in the U.S. (35%), but a large gender gap persists. American men are split (44% agree, 44% disagree), while American women disagree that too much is asked of men by a more than two-to-one margin (27% agree, 59% disagree).

Most (52% globally, and half of Americans) acknowledge that there are still more advantages in being a man in today’s society, and there are signs that the push for gender equality has not gone far enough. Globally, nearly half (49%) disagree that things have gone far enough in their country to give equal rights to women (42% agree). That number is higher among Americans: a majority (56%) disagree that steps toward gender equality have gone far enough (33% agree).

In another sign that attitudes are changing, achieving gender equality is an issue that is personally important for two-thirds (65%) globally, and for 63% of Americans. Furthermore, half believe women today will have a better life than women from their parents’ generation. Americans are on par with the global average on this; half believe women in the U.S. will have a better life than the previous generation, while 19% say worse. Though most Americans are reluctant to identify as feminists (just 31% define themselves as such) the younger generation is more open to that label. Forty-two percent of Americans under 35 consider themselves feminists, while 46% do not.

Globally, sexual harassment is seen as the most important issue facing women and girls (30%), followed closely by sexual violence (27%). These issues rise to the top of the list for Americans as well: 29% cite sexual harassment and 24% say sexual violence, while a quarter say equal pay. Though many recognize that sexual harassment and violence are important issues, Americans are somewhat split on the impact of the #MeToo movement. Nearly four in ten (37%) of Americans say #MeToo has had a positive impact, and 31% say it has had a negative impact. American men are evenly split (36% positive, 34% negative), but the biggest difference is based on partisanship. Two-thirds (64%) of Democrats say #MeToo has had a positive impact, while nearly half (48%) of Republicans say it has had a negative impact.

When it comes to ending discrimination against women in 20 years’ time, nearly half (47%) are confident that it will happen in the education sector. Globally, people are most pessimistic about discrimination ending in politics and government: 37% are confident it will happen in the next 20 years, and 43% are not. Americans are evenly split, with 36% both confident and not. Compared to the global average, Americans are more pessimistic when it comes to ending gender discrimination in sports; just over a third (37%) of Americans are confident about progress being made, compared to 42% globally.

Methodological Notes

  • Field dates were Friday, December 21st 2018 to Friday, January 4th 2019.
  • 16 of the 27 countries surveyed online generate nationally representative samples in their countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States).
  • Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Serbia, South Africa and Turkey produce a national sample that is more urban & educated, and with higher incomes than their fellow citizens. We refer to these respondents as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”. They are not nationally representative of their country.
  • Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014
[email protected]

Nicolas Boyon
Senior Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,749.5 million in 2018.

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President and Ipsos Global Advisor Lead

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