Gender Equality Analysis
Our respondents’ concerns; thoughts on #MeToo and Kavanaugh
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In our analysis, we take a deeper look at our survey results and highlight the patterns and insights we find under the surface using segmentation across meaningful demographics (like age, gender, or location).
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We know there’s an earning gap between men and women. The #MeToo movement has made big waves recently. And, the last few weeks have put gender issues on center stage with the Kavanaugh nomination for the Supreme Court. We wanted to know what everybody thinks about this.
Here are our questions and results. Below’s what I found most interesting.
First, our sample’s demographics
(When you look at surveys, it’s always a good idea to take a look at what types of people took the survey. Since we track how each person answers questions, we’re able to pull in responses from previous surveys for this. If some subscribers didn’t take the survey where we collected a demographic, they’re denoted by a “?” in the charts.)
On this survey, we heard from more women than men, more liberals than conservatives, and more young people than older.
We actually saw a dip in responses from men this week, compared to recent surveys. I’m interpreting that as possibly a lack of interest in the topic, which might further enforce the gender-related insights below.
Women think about it more often
Lets start off with how often people think about gender equality—I was thinking that’d be a good way to show how relevant the topic is. The overall answer showed about 80% of our respondents claiming at least on a weekly basis. I will note that this might be more than usual, because the topic has gotten a lot of press coverage lately with the #MeToo movement and Kavanaugh hearings last week. Perhaps the results wouldn’t show quite as often otherwise.
And my first hunch for segmentation was to break it down by gender. I was thinking that women likely think about it more often than men, since they’re the ones facing more discrimination. That turned out to be true — women were twice as likely to say “Every day.” Though, about as many men chose “A few times a week” as women did. On the other end, men were much more likely to think about it “Once a month.”
We’re going to look at gender segmentation several more times in this post.
Women are more concerned about it
Next, I asked how concerned people feel about gender equality, or the lack thereof. Most of our respondents said they were “Very” or “Extremely” concerned about it.
Looking at the gender breakdown again, we can see that more women are in the “Very concerned” group, but I was surprised to see that there were as many men as women in the “Extremely concerned” category.
And, I’m wondering why there are women at all in the “Not at all concerned” category...
Kavanaugh’s got people more concerned
So, the Kavanaugh hearings and confirmation for Supreme Court just happened. One of the biggest themes about the politicization of that whole process was it’s significance to the topic of gender equality and sexual assault, which are intertwined. From what I’ve gathered from the news, Facebook, and personal encounters, this has really bothered people, and women in particular.
When I asked the question about whether the Kavanaugh stuff made you more concerned, we got about 75% sayings yes.
Looking at the gender breakdown, we had a lot of men that were “Much more concerned,” but a greater percentage of them were women. Seems like this group backs up my personal experiences.
But, I didn’t only want to look at gender — politics might be interesting here. When I broke the results down by political party affiliation, there was a pretty partisan divide between the “much more concerned” and not groups — Democrats were more concerned and Republicans were mostly not, but about a third of them were. This makes sense to me, since this whole debacle seemed to really get everyone choosing sides.
On the other hand, we really didn’t hear from many Republicans in the survey this week, so if we had, perhaps the results would be different. But, this might also be a sign of lack of interest in the topic from Republicans, so maybe not… Unfortunately, we can only speculate.
The #MeToo movement is a good thing
The #MeToo movement has been in the papers constantly over the last couple years, and many notable celebrities and leaders have been accused of sexual assault. It’s another flashpoint that coincided with the Kavanaugh stuff, and it’s totally relevant to this topic.
When I asked whether people think that it makes our society better, a whopping 80% said that it does, and <10% said it makes things worse.
There wasn’t a big difference across genders on this question, actually. Men and women seem to be mostly on the same page. In fact, more women said it makes society “About the same” — in other words, no effect. Maybe they think it just hasn’t done enough?
I checked political party affiliation again. There’s more overlap on this question than the previous, but there is still some separation — more Democrats saying it makes things “Much better,” and the only votes for “Worse” came from Republicans.
Republicans care less, and not just libs say so
Ok, on the theme of politics, I wanted to know what people think about the stances of the two major parties on gender equality. Overall, the weighted average showed people think that the Democratic party finds it about twice as important as the Republicans.
When you factor in gender, you do see a split — more women said it was “Not at all important” to Republicans, and more men said it was “Somewhat important.”
But what if this is just a factor of party affiliation? And more of the male respondents are likely to be Republicans? If you were thinking that, good call.
The political split shows that Republicans think gender equality is much more important to their party than the outsiders do. However, it’s worth noting that about a third of self-identifying Republicans admitted that it’s “Not so important” to the party. Maybe that holds more weight than what the Democrats think about them.
If you flip it around, there’s not much disagreement — both Republicans and Democrats think that gender equality is pretty important to the Democratic party. Interestingly enough though, Democrats were less likely to say that it’s “Extremely important” to the party than Republicans. Is this an example of liberals not feeling like their party is doing enough, but it looks like a lot to conservatives?
More diverse leadership is the way to go
Whether you think about it a lot or are very concerned with it, it seems like most people believe everyone should be treated equally, at least theoretically. With that in mind, I think most people wants things to get better, at least a little bit.
I asked what were the things that would help improve gender equality the most. Overall, “More diverse leadership” was the top-ranked solution, with “Government protections and regulations” coming up next.
Across genders, the story was mostly the same. Men and women both ranked diverse leadership as one of the best ways to improve gender equality. Protests were the last place for women, but not quite for men.
Interestingly enough, the rankings didn’t change a lot across political views either. Republicans agreed that diverse leaders are the top solution. There was one shift though — “Free market forces” had a higher ranking from this group than the rest. Makes sense to me.
Men won’t vote based on gender equality
I wanted to get a sense on how gender equality stacks up with other issues when people think about who they’ll vote for. Overall, we had most people somewhere around their “top 3” or “top 5” issues, and then another big group saying it’s not in their top 10.
The gender gap on this one is big — most women say this is in their top 3 issues or higher. Most men say this is in their top 5 issues or lower.
This stands out to me because on a lot of the other questions, like how often they think about it and how concerned they are, men weren’t too different than women. But from the answers to this question, it seems like they think it’s a problem, but they don’t have as much skin in the game, so they’re not really likely to vote based on it. Seems kind of sad.
The political angle has most of the Republicans in the “not in my top 10 issues” camp, but we had a few Republicans that rank it very highly.
That’s all for quantitative analysis. Now we’re going to shift gears to qualitative, and see what interesting comments came through.
There were a lot of interesting comments, as usual. I’ve highlighted several that I think are particularly thought-provoking or representative, and I’ve bolded key phrases to help you skim.
What gets too much attention?
Hashtags and social media activism. It is important and we should keep doing it, but it’s not as effective at actually accomplishing goals as people think it is. Lots of people re-share posts they care about and stop there. (I am guilty of this too).
Specific to America, when a handful of women break into the very top positions in business and government (Fortune 500 CEO, the Supreme Court, the Executive Cabinet), those accomplishments tend to be touted as “enough.” But they represent what mostly affluent, privileged, and white women were able to accomplish in what are still very much male-dominated arenas. As though those accomplishments prove that anyone can “do it” — that if a woman is “strong” or “resilient” or “leans in”, she too can rise to this enviable level of power and into one of the few spots available for women. This myth is as untrue as it is dangerous. Too often it is used to prevent real progress on gender issues for the majority of women in the country.
Terms. Being a feminist is about equality, not putting females above other genders.
Identity politics… Expecting all people of a specific gender to feel exactly the same about an issue, and vote the same. There is much more nuance.
They think it is a male versus female issue. It isn’t that myopic. It is not a win/lose ‘game.’ Done properly, it should be a win/win for society.
The “cancel” culture of today. No one is perfect and I think we can forgive men who have made mistakes IF they are now aware of their problems and are making honest and sincere efforts to fix it. A stupid joke or something of that sort is forgivable to me but many want to lump those in with the violent sexual offenders which I don’t think does the #MeToo movement justice.
The possibility of women lying. It’s statistically proven that less than 1% if women lie about sexual assault allegations. Believe women.
What doesn’t get enough attention?
True physiological differences in the nurturing instinct that causes the majority of moms to rightfully want to be carrying for their children and accepting this is normal. And that IS rightfully going to affect careers, wages etc for those that want to make that a priority.
How structural barriers, such as a lack of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and/or societal attitudes about shared responsibility within the household and the family effectively prevents women from fully and effectively participating in equal opportunities and outcomes for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. Also, mainstream thought tends to focus on equality of opportunity, but equality of outcomes is just as important.
How engrained gender norms are in society. True parity requires us to change systemic gender expectations and be far more neutral in our behavior towards both genders.
We really have made strides toward equality. We still have a long way to go, but with each passing generation, we get a little closer. So don’t give up.
How to create lasting change. I think government mandates and general protests are somewhat ineffective; clearly no one cared when Kavanaugh was being confirmed or Trump was elected. There has to be another way to change minds, but I am not sure what that is.
The p-word. Patriarchy. Instead of conjuring a 60’s “women’s lib” caricature, we should all be considering how the creation of gender and gender-based power structures effect all of us from the interpersonal to the institutional level. As a male survivor of sexual violence, I wish for people to consider how patriarchal norms impact the lives and development of young boys, stealing from them the ability to express a full range of emotions, which unfortunately leads to emotionally immature men who are all too willing to inflict violence on others.
Our leadership and how flippant they are with issues related to gender equality. If the people from both sides of the party line pushed hard enough on our leadership to consider gender equality, they might listen. All people deserve to be treated with respect and if you or someone you love wouldn’t be treated with respect because of something such as gender (or race or age) then why wouldn’t you demand that respect?
People don’t pay enough attention to their own privilege. Many people like to tell us we are overreacting at the news or when appointments like Kavanaugh happen (and using “overreacting” towards women like we are the “hysterical women” of olden days), but they permit themselves to be cruel because they cannot see the impact of their decision on others.
That’s all folks!
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