See much progress in women’s equality? Depends who you ask


By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK: Talk about a gender gap. Women and men have vastly different views on how much equality has been achieved in the U.S. workplace, with half as many women as men seeing progress, poll results showed on Monday.

Women are more pessimistic about the future as well, with almost twice as many as men predicting equality in politics will take at least 30 more years, if ever, said the survey by Gallup, a U.S.-based polling company.

Men and women agree that equality is missing from politics and the workplace, but by distinctly different margins, according to the survey, held to mark the 100-year anniversary of ratification of the U.S. Constitution’s 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.

Overall, about seven in 10 U.S. adults said women have not yet achieved equality in the workplace and in politics.

But, divided by gender, 21% of U.S. women think there is workplace equality compared with 42% of men. Also, 25% of women think there is equality in politics compared with 43% of men.

Looking ahead, 32% of women and 17% of men said they predict political equality will take 30 years or more to achieve.

“I can only imagine that women are just more sensitive to those factors than men, whether it has to do with equality in the number of women in Congress, the number of women CEOs, the number of women superintendents relative to teachers,” said Lydia Saad, Gallup’s director of U.S. social research.

“It just may be more obvious to women,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Older women had a brighter outlook than younger women. Three-quarters of those over age 65 said they think equality exists or will in the next 20 years for women in politics.

Only a third of women aged 18 to 44 shared that view.

“Older women have had more time to see more change,” Saad said. “There have been gains, and the longer you’ve been around, the more you see.”

The results were based on self-administered web interviews conducted between July 13 to 19, using a random sample of 3,745 U.S. adults. The margin of error was plus or minus three percentage points.


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Thomson Reuters Foundation

Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Thomson Reuter Foundation's editorial team of almost 50 journalists and about 300 freelancers covers the world’s under-reported stories at the heart of aid, development, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, climate change and social innovation. See more at