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The following report comes from the Pew Research Center.
Americans across demographic and partisan groups agree that women should have equal rights with men, but the country is sharply divided over how much work remains to be done, and those divisions are rooted mainly in the growing partisan schism that pervades American values and culture these days, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Half of Americans say the country hasn’t gone far enough when it comes to giving women equal rights with men, while 39% say things have been about right; one-in-ten Americans believe the country has gone too far in giving women equal rights with men. Democrats are largely dissatisfied with the nation’s progress on this issue – 69% say the country hasn’t gone far enough when it comes to giving women equal rights with men. Among Republicans, more than half (54%) say things are about right, while only 26% say the country has more work to do.
Democrats are also much more likely than Republicans to say that men have easier lives than women these days: 49% of Democrats say this compared with 19% of Republicans. A majority of Republicans (68%) say neither men nor women have it easier today, compared with 45% of Democrats. Among Americans overall, far more say men have it easier in our country these days than say things are easier for women (35% vs. 9%); still, a majority (56%) says there is no difference. Those who see an advantage for men often say these inequities are rooted in the workplace; 43% say that men are paid more than women, and 29% cite greater employment opportunities or preferential treatment for men.
Politics also underpins views about who has benefited from the changing roles of men and women. Roughly six-in-ten Democrats (58%) say that changing gender roles have made it easier for women to lead satisfying lives; about a third of Republicans (36%) say the same. And while about half of Democrats (48%) say these changes have made it easier for men to lead satisfying lives, only 30% of Republicans share this view. In addition, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say changing gender roles have made it easier for parents to raise children, for marriages to be successful and for families to earn enough money to live comfortably.
To be sure, men and women have different perspectives on how far the country has come in achieving gender equality, but these differences are relatively narrow when partisanship is considered. More than half of women (57%) say the country hasn’t done enough to give women equal rights with men, while 33% say things are about right. For their part, men are equally split between saying there is more work to be done (42%) and things are about right (44%). Among Democrats, a majority of women (74%) and men (64%) say the country hasn’t gone far enough when it comes to achieving gender equality. And while Republican women are more likely than their male counterparts to share this view (33% vs. 20%), relatively small shares of each group do so.
Among the report’s other key findings:
- Democrats are divided along educational lines in their views on gender equality. About eight-in-ten Democrats with a bachelor’s degree or higher (81%) and 73% of those with some college experience say the country has not gone far enough in giving women equal rights with men; 55% of those with a high school degree or less education say the same. Among Republicans, views are consistent across educational groups.
- Women are more than twice as likely as men to say they have experienced gender discrimination. About four-in-ten women (43%) say they have personally experienced discrimination or been treated unfairly because of their gender; 18% of men say this has happened to them. Among both women and men who say they have faced discrimination because of their gender, more cite situations related to hiring, pay or promotion than any other example of unfair treatment they have experienced.
- Millennial women are more likely than women in older generations to say men have it easier these days. Roughly half (52%) of Millennial women say this compared with 37% or fewer among the older generations. This pattern is driven in part by the political leanings of Millennial women, 69% of whom are Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party.
- Women have made gains in labor force participation and earnings, while men have seen losses; still, inequality persists. In many ways, the workplace has represented the front lines in the battle for gender equality in the U.S. Over the past half century, the role of women in the workplace has been transformed as they have increased their labor force participation, seen their wages increase and made inroads into occupations that were previously dominated by men. Even so, women still lag behind in several key leadership realms.
The nationally representative survey of 4,573 adults was conducted online Aug. 8-21 and Sept. 14-28, 2017, using Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel. The margin of sampling error for the total sample is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. The Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. Subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters or follow us on ourFact Tank blog.