On January 21, an estimated 3 million people around the world marched in solidarity for women’s rights. The New York Times breathlessly reported on those left behind in towns like Montclair, N.J. – husbands and fathers who had to fend for themselves and in some drastic cases take care of their children sans mom. Thankfully, it was only for a few hours and they persisted. “By Sunday morning, most of the women were back to their routines in Montclair,” the Times wrote, “The JaiPure Yoga Studio reported full attendance, and many fathers exhaled in relief.”
Maybe the Times isn’t giving men quite enough credit. It turns out they support women in more ways than just as back-up childcare.
Men are driving a rise in feminism in the U.S., according to a new Global Advisor study from Ipsos. The survey, conducted earlier this year in more than 20 countries, asked about attitudes related to gender and equality. In the U.S., a growing majority (63%) of men call themselves “feminists” – up from just 46% in a similar study Ipsos fielded in 2014. Women and men now identify with the term nearly equally.
The growth in feminist sentiment is consistent across generations with every age group reporting higher numbers than in 2014.
The clear majority (93%) of Americans believe there should be gender equality but only three in four believe that is actually the case here. Only 63% of women feel that they personally have full equality to “reach their full dreams and aspirations” a figure which has declined seven percentage points since 2014.
There are signs of growing equality in the U.S., at least financially. While overall women are less likely to consider themselves as “entrepreneurs” they are starting a record number of their own businesses. The number of women-owned businesses more than doubled between 1997 and 2016 to 11.3 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Men are still paid more than women. The gender pay-gap has narrowed, however the gains have slowed in recent years and the U.S. still lags many other nations in pay equity. The Ipsos study found that opinions on feminism and equality vary across the globe as well.
In countries like India, China, Italy and France more feel that they are feminists, putting the U.S. just above the average in the countries surveyed. Germany, Russia and Japan were the only nations where a majority did not identify with the term. When it comes to actively supporting women’s rights, however, the U.S. lags many developed nations with only 60% of Americans saying they “speak up and out to change things for women” here.
Few Americans still adhere to gender stereotypes that women are inferior to men or that women should remain home and take care of children and the family.
If it’s true that there won’t be progress until this becomes an issue for men as well as women, then the 2017 results can be taken as a hopeful sign for women in the U.S.