Three in Five Americans Say U.S. Has Long Way to Go to Reach Gender Equality

New York, N.Y. – August 16, 2010 – In 1920, 144 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, women in the United Statesachieved the right to vote. Ninety years later gender equality is still discussed and debated. When it comes to whether things are fine between men and women, the nation is split – just over half of Americans (52%) disagree that things are fine between the genders while 43% say things are fine. But men and women have a different take on the situation with over half of men (55%) believing things are fine compared to just one-third (32%) of women who say the same.

Even more Americans (63%) agree that the U.S. still has a long way to go to reach complete gender quality. While three-quarters of women (74%) agree with this, so do just over half of men (52%).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,227 adults surveyed online between June 14 and 21, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

Whether the issue of gender equality should be addressed is another question in these times with so many other pressing issues. Three-quarters of U.S. adults (74%) agree that they do not think gender equality is perfect, but there are more pressing issues to fix first. And men and women are in agreement on this (74% of men agree as do 75% of women).


Women and Work

One of the discrepancies the Equal Rights Amendment was hoping to correct was inequality in the workplace among men and women. But seven in ten Americans (69%) say that women often do not receive the same pay as men for doing exactly the same job. Three in five U.S. adults (62%) agree that women are often discriminated against in being promoted for supervisory and executive jobs. Women are much more likely than men to agree with this but almost half of men also agree with both sentiments. Four in five women (80%) agree that women often do not receive the same pay for the same job compared to 58% of men, and 75% of women agree women are discriminated against in their promotions compared to 48% of men.

Half of Americans (50%) say women often receive lower pensions or pay more on annuities than men doing the same work while 23% disagree with this and 27% are not at all sure. And it’s not just with pay that there are issues. More Americans believe women often have much more trouble than men in getting credit, bank loans and mortgages (42% agree with this while 36% disagree) and that women are often discriminated in the insurance rates they pay (38% agree; 33% disagree).

But it isn’t all bad. Over half of Americans (52%) say most employers are willing make the conditions of work flexible enough to help women with families who want to go to work. Again, there is a gender difference here as three in five men (60%) agree with this compared to less than half of women (46%).

 

So What?

In ninety years many things have changed for women in this country. And some may argue things are better, but there is still the undercurrent that there are issues, especially when it comes to pay and employment, where things have not yet approached an equal footing with men. Women are sitting in more boardrooms and at the helms of more companies today, but there is a sense they are not yet getting paid the same as men in those positions. There is also a sense that something else may have been lost. Four in five Americans (81%) and four in five men and women (81% for both) say women today are treated with less chivalry than in the past. Can women have both equal pay and chivalry? Or can it be only or the other?

 

 

TABLE 1

GENDER EQUALITY TODAY

On another subject, August of this year will mark the 90th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote in the United States. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about gender equality in the United States today?

Base: All adults

AGREE

(NET)

Strongly Agree

Somewhat Agree

DISAGREE (NET)

Somewhat Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Not at

all sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

I don’t think that gender equality is perfect in the United States, but there are more important issues to fix first.

74

36

38

21

14

7

5

The U.S. still has a long way to go to reach complete gender equality.

63

30

34

32

21

11

5

Things are fine the way they are between men and women.

43

13

30

52

33

19

5

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 2

GENDER EQUALITY TODAY

On another subject, August of this year will mark the 90th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote in the United States. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about gender equality in the United States today?

Percent saying Strongly Agree or Somewhat Agree

Base: All adults

Total

Generation

Gender

Political Party

Echo Boomers

(18-33)

Gen. X

(34-45)

Baby Boomers (46-64)

Matures

(65+)

Male

Female

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

I don’t think that gender equality is perfect in the United States, but there are more important issues to fix first.

74

75

78

75

67

74

75

76

71

77

The U.S. still has a long way to go to reach complete gender equality.

63

62

55

66

71

52

74

51

77

59

Things are fine the way they are between men and women.

43

45

49

39

42

55

32

53

33

47

 

 

 

TABLE 3

WOMEN AND EQUAL TREATMENT

Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with the following statements

Base: All adults

AGREE

(NET)

Strongly Agree

Somewhat Agree

DISAGREE (NET)

Somewhat Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Not at all sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Women today are treated with less chivalry than in the past

81

36

45

10

7

3

9

Women often do not receive the same pay as men for doing exactly the same job

69

35

34

22

15

6

9

Women are often discriminated against in being promoted for supervisory and executive jobs

62

23

38

27

21

7

11

Most employers are willing to make the conditions of work flexible enough to help women with families who want to go to work

52

11

42

35

25

10

13

Women often receive lower pensions or pay more on annuities than men doing the same work

50

22

28

23

16

7

27

Women often have much more trouble than men in getting credit, bank loans and mortgages

42

15

27

36

24

12

21

Women are often discriminated against in the insurance rates they pay

38

15

23

33

22

11

29

Women receive the same pay as men for doing comparable jobs with similar skill and training

35

11

24

56

35

21

9

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 4

WOMEN AND EQUAL TREATMENT

Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with the following statements

Percent saying Strongly Agree or Somewhat Agree

Base: All adults

Total

Generation

Gender

Echo Boomers

(18-33)

Gen. X

(34-45)

Baby Boomers (46-64)

Matures

(65+)

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Women today are treated with less chivalry than in the past

81

78

81

83

81

81

81

Women often do not receive the same pay as men for doing exactly the same job

69

66

64

72

76

58

80

Women are often discriminated against in being promoted for supervisory and executive jobs

62

58

55

64

72

48

75

Most employers are willing to make the conditions of work flexible enough to help women with families who want to go to work

52

50

58

51

54

60

46

Women often receive lower pensions or pay more on annuities than men doing the same work

50

46

42

54

56

42

58

Women often have much more trouble than men in getting credit, bank loans and mortgages

42

28

32

49

63

33

51

Women are often discriminated against in the insurance rates they pay

38

31

34

41

49

29

46

Women receive the same pay as men for doing comparable jobs with similar skill and training

35

36

43

32

32

46

25

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between June 14 and 21, 2010 among 2,227 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J38301

Q805, 810

The Harris Poll® #98, August 16, 2010

By Regina Corso, Director The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

 

About Harris Interactive

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