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Gender Equality Movement Too Slow For Women

NEW YORK-- In 1920, 144 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, women in the United States achieved the right to vote. Ninety years later, the issues of gender equality remain debated and unresolved.

Among all American adults, 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%).  By comparison, when this question is posed to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults, 73% say the U.S. still has a long way to go, including 95% of lesbians (an especially notable finding when compared with 74% of heterosexual females.)

When querying 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.

However, when these overall findings are contrasted with the attitudes of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender adults, the differences become even sharper.  Only 22% of lesbians (and 32% of gay men) suggest that things are fine between genders, as well as only one-third or 34% of all LGBT adults sampled.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,412 adults surveyed online between June 14 and 21, 2010 by Harris Interactive including 341 adults who self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the LGBT market.  [Please note that this survey was designed to measure the general attitudes and beliefs of American adults about the changing roles of men and women in society – and not specifically about issues surrounding gender identity and expression nor about continued discrimination towards transgender Americans.]

Whether the issue of gender equality should be addressed is another question in these times with so many other pressing concerns. 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).  A smaller majority (59%) of LGBT adults agrees that while gender equality is not perfect, there are other priorities requiring attention.

Women and Work

Some of the discrepancies the still unratified Equal Rights Amendment was intended to correct were chronic inequities in the workplace among men and women. Seven in ten Americans (69%) say that women often do not receive the same pay as men for doing exactly the same job; which rises to nearly eight in ten (79%) LGBT Americans.

Three in five of all U.S. adults (62%) and 72% of LGBT adults 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%) and 96% of lesbians agree that women often do not receive the same pay for the same job compared to 58% of men (71% of gay men).  Three out of four women (yet 93% of lesbians) agree women are discriminated against in their promotions compared to 48% of all men (and 69% of gay men).

For LGBT Americans, do these findings sound familiar?

In ninety years many things have changed for women in this country simply beginning with the right to vote. 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.  

Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, which specializes in LGBT marketing and trends, notes that, "LGBT Americans, who most likely recognize the consequences of their own workplace and social inequities are especially sensitive to perceived discrimination in all forms.  For gay Americans, these may be life lessons that mirror their own experiences – and demonstrate that the divide today between men and women remains as real as the evidence of unfair and unequal treatment still shown to women in public life."

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

Gender

Sexual Orientation

 

Male

Female

LGBT

Gay

Lesbian

Hetero-
sexual

Hetero-
sexual 
Male

Hetero-
sexual 
Female

 

%

%

%

%

%



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