OPINION OF THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT
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PROGRESS FOR WOMEN
While many people feel that the women's movement has made their lives better, especially in the area of jobs and salaries, general perceptions of occupational discrimination against women remain unchanged from nearly 20 years ago.
Thirty-nine percent of adults say achievements by the women's movement have made their lives better in some way, including 48 percent of women, and 30 percent of men. Women have felt some progress over the past 16 years, as many more now say they have benefitted than did in 1983. In 1983, only 25 percent of women said their lives were made better by achievements of the women's movement.
WOMEN'S MOVEMENT MADE LIFE BETTER
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Among those who say their lives have benefitted, the benefits cited most frequently are increased and better job opportunities for women, mentioned by 28 percent, and more equitable pay for women, mentioned by 15 percent.
MEN'S ADVANTAGE ON JOBS AND SALARIES
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|Men get paid more for same job||65%||70%|
|Easier for men to get top jobs||63%||67%|
|Would Vote For||America Ready For|
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Additionally, while nearly half of the public says it's difficult for both men and women to juggle work and home, another 40 percent of adults say it's easier for men, while only 9 percent say it's easier for women. American adults also overwhelmingly say that women do more around the house than men do, even when both are working full-time. And this appears to be true: among adults who are both married and employed full-time, 54 percent of women say they do all or most of the housework, compared to 16 percent of men.
|Men More||Women More||Equal|
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|How easy to juggle work and home||40%||9||49|
|Who does more around the house||3%||70||25|
Few Americans see any drawbacks to the women's movement: only 15 percnet say their lives have been made worse. Sixteen percent of women and 14 percent of men say their lives are worse because of the movement. The most frequently mentioned ways in which people say they have suffered include women taking jobs away from men (11 percent), the legalization of abortion (9 percent), kids growing up without mothers around and men treating women differently (8 percent each).
Perhaps because of these lingering inequalities, nearly three-quarters of adults say they support the Equal Rights Amendment. This support is a marked increase from when the amendment was working it's way through the ratification process: in March of 1980, 51% supported the ERA. After the amendment's demise, support increased, hitting 75% in 1988 and remaining at that level to this day.
SUPPORT FOR THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
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"FEMINISM" AND THE NEXT GENERATION
Despite the current popularity of the women's movement and the ERA, the term feminist continues to evoke negative reactions. Only 17 percent of adults consider themselves to be feminists, including 20 percent of women and 14 percent of men. Women have become less likely to call themselves feminists over the past decade: in a Time/CNN poll from 1992, 31 percent of women labeled themselves feminists.
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A FEMINIST?
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Findings suggest that the low numbers of self-described feminists have less to do with attitudes toward the women's movement than they do with the demonizing of the term over the past two decades. When asked whether they consider the term an insult, a compliment, or a neutral descriptor, by nearly three-to-one people say it is an insult rather than a compliment. While 56 percent call it a neutral term, 22 percent say the term is an insult and only 8 percent believe the word is a compliment.
Perhaps as a result, younger women are less likely to adopt the feminist label, although they are no less likely to support the goals of the women's movement. Only 17 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 29 call themselves feminists, compared to 22 percent of women over 45. But at the same time these young women are more likely to view the women's movement favorably.
OPINIONS OF THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT AMONG WOMEN OF DIFFERENT AGES
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Eighty-four percent of women aged 18 to 29 years say they have favorable impressions of the women movement. Impressions of the movement are less favorable among older women: 63 percent of women between 45 and 64 view the movement favorably, and only 45 percent of women over 65 view it favorably.
Young women also feel that the women's movement has made their lives better, although at somewhat lower rates than women who were part of the movement's first generation. Forty-five percent of women ages 18-29 say the movement has made their lives better, while 59 percent of women 30-44 say their lives are better, and 49 percent of women between the ages of 45 and 64 say the same. Young women are equally as likely as other women to support the Equal Rights Amendment.
This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1,558 adults interviewed by telephone December 13-16, 1999. There were 840 women. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the total sample of adults and the sample of women. For full question wording and poll findings, please contact the CBS Election and Survey Unit at 212-975-5554.