Two in Three Americans Favor Enhancing Women's Status in Society
Uncertainty and political polarization on the rise
NEW YORK, March 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As Americans took part in International Women's Day, a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity, a new Harris Poll finds that two in three Americans (66%) say they favor efforts to strengthen and change women's status in society.
The Harris Poll has been measuring Americans' opinions on women's status in society since the early 1970s when the Equal Rights Amendment was making its way through Congress – during a four year period between 1971 and 1975, the proportion of U.S. adults who favored efforts to strengthen and change women's status in society gained 17 percentage points from 42% in 1971 to 59% in 1975. Since 1975, support grew from 59% to 66%.
Men and women are about equally likely to favor improving women's social status in society (68% men, 64% women).
While more than 4 in 5 Democrats (83%) favor strengthening women's status in society, just over half of Republicans (52%) and nearly two-thirds of Independents (64%) feel the same way.
In comparing the trends since 1971, progress was more rapidly achieved in the period from 1971 to 1975, while the gains in support between 1975 and 2017 are less pronounced. The opposition has declined quite readily over this timeframe, with only 7% of the public opposing efforts to strengthen women's status in society today. Even so, over one-fourth of the public (27%) is uncertain whether they favor or oppose – with more women (30%) than men (24%) stating they are unsure.
"The nation has certainly come a long way since 1971, yet the increasing uncertainty and politically polarized public points toward the imperative for continued progress for women in modern society," says Carol Gstalder, Senior Vice President for The Harris Poll.
A movement or a moment?
The U.S. public is fairly split on whether they think the Women's March on January 21, following the inauguration, was a single moment in time event (48%) versus the beginning of an enduring movement (52%).
- Women (55%) are slightly more likely than men (49%) to say it is the beginning of an enduring movement.
- Republicans (73%) are far more likely than Independents (49%) or Democrats (22%) to view the march as a single moment in time.
- Women (91%) are viewed as bearing the bulk of the responsibility for improving the lives of American women, followed by men (78%), business (75%), schools (73%), communities (72%), the media (63%), and government (62%).
"There are many issues at the forefront for continued progress – including greater access to education, equal pay, access to affordable healthcare, protection against violence, and the role of women in leadership," said Gstalder. "Clearly these results indicate everyone must work together to improve the lives of women and girls in this country, but women themselves continue to be viewed as being the most in charge of changing their own destiny."
To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit our website, TheHarrisPoll.com.
Click here for the full report.