Sometimes a Strange Notion

The Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project has released the results of another Pew survey, this one conducted in 22 nations between April 7 and May 8 on the subject of whether lady-persons are entitled to the same rights as regular people, i.e., men.

Semi-Excellent News, Shakers! A great majority of the surveyed people believe that women should indeed have equal rights with men! Many would caution, however, that we must not allow that to interfere with men's special right to be more equal!

Majorities from large to very large in all but one (Nigeria) of the countries surveyed agree that "Women should have equal rights". The greatest majorities, at 99%, agreed with that statement in France and Spain, followed closely by the U.S. and Britain at 97%. (Nobody asked you, Canada. Maybe you were all busy that month? But Happy Canada Day, anyway!)

The same four countries head the list, at 97%, of respondents agreeing with the statement that, "Women should be able to work outside the home." Hmmm. That leaves 2% of respondents in those equality-loving countries, France and Spain, who do believe women "should have equal rights" but do not believe they "should be able to work outside the home".

Possibly those Spanish and French two-percenters don't believe men should "be able to work outside the home", either? "Everybody just stay home!", those 2% of Spanish and French respondents are hollering. "That way, no traffic, and I can get where I'm going faster!"

Even though large majorities everywhere agreed that women should be able to work outside the home, anywhere from 12% in Britain and Spain to over 80% in Pakistan and India favored the view that, "When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job." 14% in the U.S. agreed with that statement.

As you might expect, there were differences in men's and women's views. Six countries — Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia, Jordan, and Pakistan — showed a double-digit gap between the numbers of each who supported women's having equal rights with men. In Nigeria, where respondents showed the least support for equal rights, 56% of women agreed they should have equal rights, while only 35% of men said they should.

The difference between men's and women's responses were the greatest in Egypt. There, only 45% of men supported equal rights for women, but 76% of women did. So there must be some interesting conversations going on in Egypt on this subject.

As for how all this support for equal rights and roles is working out, Pew says:
The survey also finds that women are far more likely than men to perceive gender inequalities. By double-digit margins, female respondents in 13 of 22 nations are more likely than male respondents to say men in their countries have the better life. And in most countries where majorities among both men and women agree that men get more opportunities than women for high-paying jobs, women are considerably more likely to say they completely agree that is the case.
The NY Times quotes the University of Auckland's Prof. Jacqui True, head of the feminist theory and gender studies section of the International Studies Association, who notes, “When you’re left out of the club, you know it. When you’re in the club, you don’t see what the problem is.”

Trolls around the world maintain, however, that differing perceptions on gender inequality are purely the result of wimminz "always looking for stuff to get mad about".

The Times article, refreshingly, quotes Prof. True, along with Prof. Herminia Ibarra, co-author of the 2010 Corporate Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum, in contextualizing the results of the study, without demonstrating a need to "balance" their professional expertise by quoting any self-appointed representatives of the Dept. of Mean-Girlz-are Taking-All-of-Our-Stuff at Itz-Hard-Out-Here-for-the-Menz U.

Of course, the Times article also says, "Showing how widely accepted the notion of equality has become, even more men than women in Britain and Japan supported equal rights".

See, there? The fact that, in two countries, more people whose views really matter, i.e., men, support "equal rights" than women do, demonstrates how widely accepted the "notion" of equality has become.

I could not locate the full gender-breakdown for each surveyed country of responses to the question of whether men and women should have equal rights, either on the Pew survey result page, or in the Times article.

The only place I found the statement "more men than women in Britain and Japan supported equal rights" was in the Times article. The Pew survey was done in conjunction with the International Herald Tribune, however, which is owned by the NY Times.

The survey also questioned whether respondents thought a university education is more important for a boy than for a girl, whether marriage is more satisfying if "the husband provides for the family and the wife takes care of the house and children" or if "both have jobs and both take care of the house and children", and whether women should have the right to decide whether they wear a veil. That last question was asked only in majority-Muslim countries, and was asked only of Muslim respondents.

Peruse the survey report for yourself here.

(Edited to remove the phrase "a bare majority", which was an inaccurate description of the percentage of Nigerian women who believe women should have rights equal to men's.)

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus