US Insights

#IWD2018: American Women Look to Fuel the Fire

Ross Tucker

Executive Editor Kantar US Insights

Policy 03.08.2018 / 06:00


Awareness of gender equality issues is at a high, but progress is slow.

The last year has been marked by a wave of women around the world taking action to demand gender equality. And while these issues have been brought to the forefront of society, American women believe progress has been slow.

Leading up to today’s International Women’s Day actions, Kantar wanted to gauge the impact of efforts like #PressforProgress, #MeToo, and Time’s Up. A survey of more than 1,000 Americans conducted by Lightspeed found that gender equality is a more prominent issue today and that the groups spearheading the movement have had a positive impact. However, women in particular want to see more tangible, quantifiable signs of progress.

When asked whether gender equality has improved compared with 12 months ago, only 37% of women said yes while 63% said “no” or “not sure.” Interestingly, 45% of male respondents said they believed gender equality has improved.

We saw a similar perception gap between men and women in December when we asked about sexual harassment. That survey found that women believe men who are engaging in inappropriate behavior have been getting off relatively easy, with nearly 80% saying the ramifications for sexual misconduct aren’t harsh enough. In comparison, only 57% of men said the penalties weren’t significant enough.

Related: What Men Still Don't Grasp About Sexual Harassment

While 80% of men believe sexual misconduct and harassment are issues in the workplace, only 40% of men say a close friend or relative has experienced it at work. Meanwhile, more than a third (37%) of women have personally experienced harassment or misconduct at work and 50% said a close friend or relative has experienced issues on the job.

The perception gap between men and women is bound to change given the success these movements have had in raising awareness. According to our research, 57% of men believe the campaigns have made gender equality a more prominent issue. When asked whether the movements have had a positive impact on gender equality, 48% of men said yes compared with 41% of women.

A Global Force

Women around the world are demanding change as they seek increased independence and cast off “traditional” roles. Kantar Consulting’s Global Download on Women found that women are feeling more pressure to provide for families and make financial decisions.

“As more women postpone getting married and having kids, or choose not to, women are not automatically seen as someone’s mother or someone’s wife,” read the report. “When they are no longer dependent on anyone else and no one is dependent on them, there is tremendous freedom for women to forge new paths, aspirations and values.”

Global Independence

Source: Kantar, Lightspeed

Editor's Notes

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