‘Raise our children as children, not as boys or girls’ says global survey
Havas’ Prosumer study shows over half of men and women believe today’s children need a gender-neutral childhood
Gender is a hot-button issue in 2017, with gender-related controversies multiplying around the world. Today, a new survey of more than 12,000 men and women in 32 countries shows that almost half of men and almost two thirds of women believe children should be raised in a gender neutral way.
Based on the findings of Havas Creative’s recent survey, ‘The Future Is FeMale’ (downloadable here), a non-gendered or ‘a-gendered’ future is the preferred option for families.
That number increases in countries and cultures around the world that are already widely recognized for promoting gender equality, such as two-thirds of respondents in Canada, 88% in Spain and over half in the UK (56% total: 46% of men, 66% women).
“The media is raging with arguments about pay gaps, harassment, sexploitation, rape culture, mansplaining, and manspreading, not to mention gender fluidity, transgender equality, gender-neutral language, and the place of women at the top of society,” says Marianne Hurstel, Havas Creative’s chief strategic officer who commissioned the research. That global focus is reflected in the survey results, with almost half of respondents believing that there is no single gender and that it is, in fact, fluid (44% men, 52% women).
The 32-nation survey, commissioned by the Havas Creative agency group and fielded by Market Probe International, sought to measure how far gender equality has come in an era when women in most parts of the world are able to do things once considered the exclusive province of men; from work outside the home, to pursuing higher education, voting, owning property, and holding elected office.
Key findings from ‘The Future Is FeMale’ include:
Many signs point to an ‘agendered’ future. The very way we think about gender is changing. A majority of women (52%) and 44% of men surveyed agreed: “I do not believe in set genders; gender is fluid, and everyone can be what they feel they are.” And there is a clear push toward raising children in a nongendered way: 61% of women and 46% of men believe children should be raised in as gender neutral a way as possible so as to avoid rigid gender restrictions. (In comparison, 39% of women and 54% of men would prefer to see girls and boys raised with gender-specific clothing, toys, etc).
Gender distinctions are fading. We gave our respondents a list of 25 important traits and attributes, and asked whether each one applies more to men, to women, or to the two sexes equally. Though there were some distinctions (both sexes agreed that men are more mechanical and women are more nurturing and sensitive), for the most part we saw a real overlap between the genders. For instance:
-75% of both men and women believe the two sexes are equally valuable to society
-69% of men and 71% of women believe the sexes are equally smart
-64% of men and 68% of women believe the sexes are equally intellectual
-63% of both men and women believe the sexes are equally trustworthy
-61% believe the sexes are equally hardworking
-57% believe the sexes are equally creative/innovative
Perhaps even more surprising was our finding that about half the global sample (55% of men and 54% of women) believes parenting comes more naturally to women than to men.