Study Finds Differing Beliefs About Feminism Between Men and Women Under 30

A new study conducted by researchers from King’s College London and Ipsos UK has found that young men and women in the United Kingdom are divided in their attitudes toward feminism and gender equality. The study was conducted by surveying 3,716 people who were at least 16 years old on their opinions about present-day feminism and how feminism will affect society in the future.

The results found the largest divide between the sexes regarding their beliefs surrounding feminism in the 16 to 29 year old age group. In this group, 68 percent of women participants believed it is harder to be a woman than a man in present times; only 35 percent of young men respondents agreed. Nearly a third of men respondents in this age group stated they anticipate it will be harder to be a man than a woman 20 years from now, with 19 percent of men respondents stating it will be much harder to be a man. Additionally, 46 percent of young women agreed that feminism has done more good than harm to society, compared to 35 percent of similarly aged men. On the other hand, 16 percent of young men respondents thought feminism has done more harm than good, compared to 9 percent of women with the same sentiment.

Bobby Duffy, professor and director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, concludes that these findings present “a real risk of fractious division among this coming generation of young – and the need to listen carefully to both. That includes much more work on understanding the challenges facing young men today, or we risk that void being filled by celebrities and influencers, and this nascent divide being exacerbated.”

“What we are seeing is a polarisation in the attitudes of young men and women towards gender equality that matches the gender split in party support in the younger age groups, with women to the left of men,” says Rosie Campbell, professor and director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London. “We’re just at the beginning of understanding what’s driving this but the fact that this group is the first to derive most of their information from social media is likely to be at least part of the explanation.”

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