Can Men Be Feminists Too? Half (48%) of Men in 15 Country Survey Seem to Think So

While 87% of Both Genders Say Equality Should Be Norm Between the Sexes, Only 55% of Women Say It’s Happening

Friday, May 23, 2014

Global – A new poll by global research company Ipsos finds that just over half (53%--very much 17%/36% somewhat) of those in 15 developed countries self-identify as a “feminist” – someone who advocates and supports equal opportunities for women.

In fact, while women are not an unexpected majority (57%-- 19% very much/38% somewhat) who may self-identify as a feminist, half of men (48% – 14% very much/34% somewhat) in these countries also identify this way. As such, on average, those who would be considered “core” feminists of both genders – those who “very much” agree with this perspective-- would be equivalent to one in six individuals (17% – 19% of women and 14% of men).

Rounding out support for this hypothesis was another respondent question that found that two thirds (57% % – 20% very much/37% somewhat) professed to advocate and support equal opportunities for women--they do more than just think about these things, they actually speak up and out to change things for women in my country-- with women (57% – 20% very much/37% somewhat) and men (58% – 20% very much/38% somewhat) in parallel agreement.

And, nine in ten (87%-- 57% very much/30% somewhat) of all respondents of both genders agree that women should be treated equally to men in all areas based on their competency, not their gender.

But despite half of respondents declaring their role as advocates, and the large proportion who believe that there should be equality, only a slim majority of women agree (55%-- 14% very much/41% somewhat) that they have full equality with men and the freedom to reach their full dreams and aspirations. Indeed, seven in 10 (68%--23% very much/46% somewhat) of all respondents believe there is currently an inequality between women and men in terms of social, political and/or economic rights in their country.

For some, being an outspoken feminist does not appear to be a possibility. Two in ten (19%) – 20% of women, 17% of men – say they are scared to speak out on the issue because of what might happen to them. For others, being a feminist appears to clash with their understanding of gender. Two in ten (20%) believe men are more capable of doing things in society than women. One in seven believe women are inferior (14%) and should not aspire to do anything outside of the family (14%).

These results are part of a poll released by global research company Ipsos. The survey interviewed 12,047 adults from February 4th to 18th in 15 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.

Half of Men, Majority of Women Self-Identify as “Feminists”…

Half (53%) of all respondents define themselves as a ‘feminist’ – someone who advocates and supports equal opportunities for women. One in six (17%) agree very much with the statement while one in three (36%) somewhat agree. Women (57% agree: 19% very/38% somewhat) are not the only ones to identify as feminists. In fact, 48% (14% very/34% somewhat) of men identify this way.

Focusing in on those who “agree very much” sheds light on the drivers of this view. Among women, some of the strongest feminists are found in Sweden, where one in three (36%) agree very much that they define themselves as a feminist. They are followed by women in Italy (31%) and Argentina (29%). Those in the middle of the ranking are from Great Britain (22%), Spain (22%), United States (20%), Australia (18%), Belgium (18%), France (18%), Canada (17%), Poland (17%) and Hungary (15%). Women least likely to agree very much are from Japan (8%), Germany (7%) and South Korea (7%).



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One quarter of men in Italy (25%) and Argentina (25%), and two in ten of those in Poland (21%) and France (19%), agree very much they define themselves as feminist. They are followed by those from Sweden (17%), Spain (16%), the United States (16%), Canada (15%), Great Britain (14%), Hungary (12%), Belgium (11%) and Australia (10%). Men least likely to identify this way are from South Korea (7%), Germany (3%) and Japan (3%).

Women are more likely to self-identify as being feminists than men in every country except Poland, where men (21%) are four points more likely than women (17%) to agree very much with the statement. In South Korea, there is no difference between men and women (7%) on this measure. In all the other countries, women are more likely than men to agree very much, with the largest gaps found in Sweden (19 point: 36% women, 17% men), Australia (8 points: 18% women, 10% men), Great Britain (8 points: 22% women, 14% men) and Belgium (7 points: 18% women, 11% men).

Gender Advocates…

A slightly larger majority (57%) says they advocate and support equal opportunities for women – they do more than just think about these things, they actually speak up and out to change things for women in their country. These advocates are most likely to come from Spain (80%), Poland (77%) and Argentina (76%) Those rounding out the middle are from Italy (70%), Sweden (68%), Canada (63%), Hungary (57%), Australia (53%), Belgium (50%), France (50%), Great Britain (50%) and South Korea (49%). Those least likely come from the United States (49%), Germany (42%) and Japan (25%).

Women (57%) and men (58%) are equally likely to agree they advocate for gender equality. Those active on social media (68%) and those aged 50-64 (61%) are most likely to speak up.

The Gender Gap…

A majority (55%) of women in 15 developed countries agree they have full equality with men in their country and the freedom to reach their full dreams and aspirations. Women in Canada (78%) are most likely to agree that they have equality, followed by the United States (70%), Great Britain (69%) and Argentina (66%). Those in the middle of the ranking are from Poland (65%), Australia (63%), Sweden (62%), Germany (58%), Hungary (53%), Belgium (47%) and Italy (45%). Women in Spain (30%) are least likely to say they have equality with men along with Japan (36%), France (42%) and South Korea (43%).

Women with a high household income (63%) are considerably more likely with those of a low household income (52%) to agree they have full equality. Young women under the age of 35 (58%) are more likely to agree than those aged 50-64 (52%).

Majority Acknowledge Issue…

Nine in ten (87%) of all respondents say they believe in equal opportunities for men and women – that women should be treated equally to men in all areas based on their competency not their gender. At least seven in ten of respondents in each country surveyed agree and there are no major statistical demographic variances in support for this statement.

While so many believe in gender equality, most appear to acknowledge there is currently an equity problem as seven in ten (68%) agree there is currently an inequality between women and men in terms of social, political and/or economic rights in their country. Those most likely to agree are from Sweden (85%), France (80%) and South Korea (78%). Those in the middle of the pack are from Spain (74%), Italy (72%), Japan (71%), Great Britain (69%), Australia (68%), United States (66%) and Belgium (64%). Only six in ten agree from Argentina (57%), Hungary (60%), Poland (61%), Germany (61%) and Canada (61%).

Those most likely to agree there is currently inequality in their country are women (72%), those aged 50-64 (71%), those with high education (71%) and active social media users (70%).

Some Are Silenced by Fear, But Not Many…

Two in ten (19%) agree they are scared to speak out on the issue because of what might happen to them. This proportion is highest in South Korea (30%), Poland (24%) and Hungary (23%), those in the middle are from Italy (22%), Japan (21%), Belgium (20%), Australia (19%), France (18%), Spain (18%), the United States (18%) and Argentina (17%). The proportion is lowest in Germany (9%), Sweden (12%), Great Britain (15%) and Canada (15%). Those with low household income (23%) and those under the age of 35 (22%) are most likely to agree they are scared.

Women as Inferior Beings…

Some might simply not see gender disparities as problematic. Two in ten (20%) believe men are more capable of doing things in society than women. One in seven believes women are inferior to men (14%) and should not aspire to do anything outside of the household and should produce children and tend to their family (14%).

South Koreans are most likely to agree with all three statements, joined by Poland, Japan and Hungary on the list of those who think men are more capable and women should not have aspirations outside of the home. Other than South Korea, those most likely to think women are inferior to men are from Germany (21%), Japan (17%) and Sweden (17%). Those in the middle are from the United States (16%), Poland (15%), Italy (14%), Canada (12%), Belgium (11%), Hungary (11%), Australia (10%), Great Britain (10%), Spain (10%), Argentina (9%) and France (9%).

Indeed, those from France are among the least likely to agree with all statements. Those from Sweden, Spain and Great Britain are among the least likely to agree men are more capable and women should not have aspirations outside of the home, though they are at the top of the list of those who think women are inferior.

Men are more likely than women to believe they are more capable of doing things in society (24% vs. 17%) and that women should not aspire to do things outside of the home (16% vs. 12%). They agree equally that women are inferior. Those under the age of 35 and who have lower household income are most likely to agree with all three statements.

These are findings of the research conducted by global research company Ipsos. The research was conducted on the “G@54”wave between February 4-18th, 2014. The monthly Global @dvisor data output is derived from a balanced online sample in 24 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 12,047 in 15 countries were interviewed: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. Interviews were conducted among adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada and aged 16-64 in all other countries. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, South Korea and Sweden, where each have a sample approximately 500+. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval. In this case, a poll of 1,000 is accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and one of 500 is accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points in their respective general populations.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Julia Clark
Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
312.526.4919
julia.clark@ipsos.com

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 third in the global research industry.

With offices in 86 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, 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 €1,712,4 million (2 274 M$) in 2013.

Visit www.ipsos.com to learn more about Ipsos’ offerings and capabilities.


Can Men Be Feminists Too? Half (48%) of Men in 15 Country Survey Seem to Think So

Contact

Julia Clark
Senior Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1.312.526.4919
julia.clark@ipsos.com