International Women's Day 2019: Attitudes towards gender equality in Scotland

Scots recognise there is a problem with gender equality that needs to be addressed – but most of us don’t see ourselves as ‘feminists’.

The author(s)

  • Emily Gray Managing Director, Ipsos MORI Scotland
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New Ipsos MORI research shows that people in Scotland are more likely than those in most other countries to recognise that there is a problem with gender inequality.

Key findings

  • 58% of working-age adults in Scotland say that, in our society today, there are more advantages to being a man, with just 8% saying there are more advantages to being a woman and 28% saying it makes no difference. This is higher both than the global average (52% across 27 countries say there are more advantages to being a man) and the average for Great Britain as a whole (49%).
  • 58% of adults in Scotland disagree that ‘When it comes to giving women equal rights with men, things have gone far enough in Scotland’. This is again higher than the global average (49%) and in line with views across Britain as a whole (59%).
  • 76% of us say that achieving equality between men and women is important to us personally – higher than both the global average (65%) and the figure for Britain as a whole (62%).

But most of us don’t see ourselves as feminists – just 36% of working-age adults in Scotland agree that ‘I define myself as a feminist’.

Not a ‘women’s issue’

Gender equality is no longer seen as a ‘women’s issue’, both men and women in Scotland think men have an essential role to play. A majority of both men and women agree that women in Scotland will not achieve equality unless men also take actions to support women’s rights (61% of men and 74% of women agree).  Whilst 69% of men and 79% of women think that more men speaking out when women are treated unfairly because of their gender would have a positive impact on equality.

However, men are still less likely to buy into action to achieve gender equality – 33% of men (and 17% of women) agree that ‘Men are being expected to do too much to support women’s equality in Scotland’.

We want fathers to be more involved in childcare

The role of men in childcare is seen as key – 66% of men and 82% of women believe that men sharing more responsibility for raising children and looking after the home will have a positive impact on gender equality.

And staying at home to look after the kids is no longer considered potentially ‘emasculating’ – the vast majority of both men (86%) and women (92%) in Scotland disagree that ‘A man who stays home to look after his children is less of a man’. Indeed, Scots are even less likely to hold with this traditional view of men than are people across Britain as a whole or elsewhere in the world (89% of adults in Scotland disagree, compared with 81% across Great Britain and 75% on average across the 27 countries surveyed).

But we are not convinced that equality will be achieved in the domestic sphere in the next 20 years – 41% of adults in Scotland are not confident that discrimination against women with respect to looking after children and the home will have ended in the next 20 years (a similar proportion – 40% - are confident, while 12% are unsure).

And many of us expect the gender gap to persist. Scots are divided over whether discrimination against women in Scotland will have ended in the next 20 years:

  • in business (42% are not confident about this, 37% confident)
  • in the media (40% not confident, 39% confident)
  • in sport (38% not confident, 40% confident), and
  • in government and politics (36% not confident, 41% confident).

Emily Gray, Managing Director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said:

These findings show that most people in Scotland share progressive views on gender equality, even if there’s still some reticence about embracing the label of ‘feminist’. They also highlight that men in general, and fathers in particular, play an essential role in achieving gender equality. While most of us don’t hold stereotyped attitudes to men and childcare, there are clearly still major barriers to be overcome to make gender equality a reality, both inside and outside the home.  Equal pay and preventing domestic abuse are both seen as top priorities for Scotland to focus on in achieving gender equality.

Technical Note

  • These are the findings of the Ipsos MORI International Women’s Day survey 2019. Results for Scotland are based on 873 online interviews with 16-64 year-olds, conducted 20th – 28th February 2019. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
  • Global data is based on an international sample of 18,800 adults aged 18-64 in the United States and Canada and 16-64 in all other countries. The survey was conducted in 27 countries around the world, via the Ipsos Online Panel system in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Great Britain, and the USA. Data was collected 21 December 2018 – 4 January 2019. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
  • Where results do not sum to 100%, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of “don’t know” categories.
  • Results are based on all respondents aged 16-64 (873 in Scotland) unless otherwise stated.

The author(s)

  • Emily Gray Managing Director, Ipsos MORI Scotland

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