While the social and legal battles for gender equality in the U.S. rage on, there is a pervasive notion that most of Europe is ahead of us in eradicating sexist oppression. But how do our closest relatives across the pond fare? A recent poll of 8,000 men and women in the United Kingdom found that British gender equality is doing well, but, like here, everyday folks aren't all self-proclaimed feminists advocating for equal pay.
The Fawcett Society's Sex Equality: State of the Nation 2016 survey set out to gauge how the U.K. has changed its attitudes about gender over the century, asking respondents questions about women in the workplace, the fixity of gender identity categories, and feminism. According to the report's introduction, 150 years ago, English suffragist Millicent Fawcett and a cadre of campaigners delivered the first petition for women’s suffrage to parliament. It has also been 98 years since the first woman was elected to parliament and 46 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed, making it a good time to check in on the state of the nation's gender dynamics.
Here are five facts about British gender equality today from The Fawcett Society's survey:
1. Almost 9 In 10 Men Want The Women They Know To Have Equal Opportunities
A vast majority of the men surveyed said the women in their lives deserved the same opportunities as men. Interestingly, older men were the most likely to espouse this view.
2. 44% Of People Believe Gender Can Be A Wide Range Of Identities
Almost half of the population thinks gender goes beyond traditional binaries, and women and those between the ages of 18-34 were most likely to understand this concept.
3. 6 In 10 Believe Men In Jobs Won't Make Room For Women Unless They Have To
This is a pretty cynical outlook, but likely true — and its adherents increase with age. 49 percent of 18-34 years olds, 60 percent of 35-54 years olds and 68 percent of those over 55 believe male leaders won’t make room for women at the top unless they have to.
4. 67% Support Gender Equality
A solid majority of Brits believe in gender equality, and 7 in 10 men believe it would be good for the economy.
5. Only 7% Identify As Feminists
Sixty-seven percent of the 8,000 folks surveyed are behind gender equality, and yet only 7 percent identify as feminists. This statistic reveals a fear of publicly claiming "the f-word," despite holding beliefs that coincide with the movement. A recent U.S. survey found that 20 percent of Americans are down with feminism, proving that maybe we're not so far behind our European mates after all.
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