Over two thirds of people support gender equality – but few actually describe themselves as a feminist
Most people these days are strong believers in gender equality. But do you identify as a feminist? A recent study from the Facwett Society – the UK’s leading gender equality and women’s rights charity – has showed that while two thirds of us do support feminist principles, only 7% of people across the UK would actually describe themselves as a feminist.
As part of the project, the 8,000 people surveyed were asked to say the first word that popped into their heads when they heard the word ‘feminist.’ It triggered a wide range of responses, from negatives such as ‘bitchy’ (26%) to positives such as ‘strength’ (22%). Names like Hilary Clinton and political connotations such as ‘suffragette’ were also mentioned on a number of occasions.
They also found that younger women are more likely to self identify as feminist – 19% of women aged 18-24 and 13% of those aged 25-34 describe themselves in this way, compared to just 5% of those over 65.
Surprisingly, young women and men were also found to be more likely to actually oppose feminism. 8% of those aged 18-34 describe themselves in this way as compared to 4% of those aged 35-44 and just 2% of the over 55s.
Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society says, ‘Feminism is enjoying a welcome resurgence now, particularly amongst young women. But if we want to secure lasting change in our society we need to bring that mainstream majority with us.
‘As feminists, the challenge comes back to us to include those women and men who want to achieve equality but who do not readily identify with the term. There is an opportunity now to build on this renewed feminist energy and mobilise the mainstream.’
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