Many Republican Men Think Women Have It Better Than Men, But Here Are 6 Reasons Why That's Nonsense
Feminism has unquestionably made progress over the last century, but inequality remains a problem for anyone who isn't a straight, white, cisgender man in the United States. It might seem like an obvious statement — this Saturday, after all, hundreds of thousands of women are expected to gather in D.C. to demonstrate against the inauguration of a self-described p*ssy grabber — but apparently, not everyone feels the same way. According to a recent study featured in the New York Times, Republican men think women have it better these days than men, a sentiment that's equal parts laughably out of touch and wildly depressing.
The research is part of a poll conducted by the nonpartisan group PerryUndem, which surveyed around 1,300 adults in December. The good news is that according to their results, the vast majority of people (93 percent) believe in gender equality. The bad news is, well, everything else. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (71 percent) reported feeling unsafe as a woman, and 54 percent said they had been touched without their consent by a man.
Although most agreed that it's harder to be a woman than a man even in today's society, researchers found a disconnect between men's perceptions of sexism and women's actual experiences. (This is perhaps unsurprising, given that a recent Pew Research Center survey found that the majority of men think sexism is over — although honestly, that just makes the whole thing more depressing.) Around half of married women reported being touched inappropriately by a man, but just 30 percent of men reported the same about their wives. Similarly, 64 percent of married women said they were treated disrespectfully due to their gender, but only 49 percent of married men said the same.
The widest gap between perception and reality was present in Republican men. The poll found that they were some of the least likely to perceive gender inequality. While just 20 percent of adults thought full gender equality had been achieved, 39 percent of Republican men felt this way. In fact, Republican men were more likely to say it's a good time to be a woman in the United States than a man.
Researchers also noted that these men were more likely to hold sexist attitudes: Three in 10 agreed that men make better political leaders than women, two-thirds reported being unbothered by Donald Trump's Access Hollywood tape, and 40 percent agreed that women "like to tease men and then refuse male advances."
If you're anyone other than a cis dude, you already know that American society is hardly a level playing field. Here are six facts to show that despite what some believe, gender equality — and, in fact, equality as a whole — is still a long way off.
1. The Wage Gap Persists
Although it receives widespread attention every few years, the wage gap persists even today. The most widely-cited statistic is that women make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes doing equal work, but the reality is more complex: Women of color tend to make far less, and the pay ratio changes based on location.
Unfortunately, this difference is closing at a snail's pace. In fact, the American Association of University Women points out that there hasn't been a significant change in the earning ratio since 2007, and the Institute for Women's Policy Research estimates that it won't close until at least 2059, assuming the changes don't slow down further.
2. Mothers Are Punished At Work
Even setting aside the issue of equal pay for equal work, sexism can be found in the way parenthood is treated in the workplace. While men receive a "fatherhood bonus" — that is, they tend to be paid more after having children — women experience the exact opposite effect. Research has shown that mothers are actually paid less, to the tune of about five percent per child, and even the possibility of getting pregnant can affect their career prospects.
3. 1 In 3 Women Survive Domestic Violence
People of any gender can be victims of domestic and sexual violence, including men; what's more, the culture that expects men to keep violence to themselves is a pressing issue. However, women are more likely to report experiencing domestic violence; according to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, one in three women (compared to one in four men) are survivors of some sort of physical violence from their partners. One in seven women (versus one in 18 men) report being stalked, and according to RAINN, women are more likely to experience sexual assault than men.
4. Sexual Harassment Is Commonplace For Women
Although men report experiencing sexual harassment, it's far more common for women. According to a 2007 Gallup poll, women report feeling less safe than men in countries like Italy, New Zealand, and of course, the U.S. In 2000, a different poll found that 87 percent of adult women said they had been harassed by a male stranger on the street, 30 percent of young women reported being harassed at least once a week.
5. Women Are Discouraged From STEM Professions
It's no secret that women are highly underrepresented in traditionally masculine fields like the sciences. Women haven't seen any STEM employment growth since 2001, and while they hold about half the jobs in the U.S. economy, a Department of Commerce report found that they make up less than a quarter of jobs in science and technology. It isn't that women are any less capable; it's that they're discouraged from "masculine" interests from birth.
6. Women Hold Fewer Political Offices
If the presidential election is any indication, things are going to be tough for women under Trump's administration, and ignoring gender inequality certainly doesn't help matters. So, here are some things you can do to fight for equality during Trump's presidency. They're just a starting point; there's so much we can and should do in the coming months and years. But do it, we must. Far too much is at stake.