Republican Men Say It’s a Better Time to Be a Woman Than a Man
By Claire Cain Miller
Jan 17 2017
To be a woman in the United States is to feel unequal, despite great strides in gender equality, according to a wide-ranging poll about gender in postelection America released Tuesday. It’s catcalls on the street, disrespect at work and unbalanced responsibilities at home. For girls, it’s being taught, more than boys, to aspire to marriage, and for women, it’s watching positions of power go to men.
Men, however, don’t necessarily see it that way.
Those are some of the findings from the poll, by PerryUndem, a nonpartisan research and polling firm whose biggest clients are foundations. It surveyed 1,302 adults in December via the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago’s AmeriSpeak panel.
Eighty-two percent of women said sexism was a problem in society today, and 41 percent of women said they had felt unequal because of their gender.
Men underestimated the sexism felt by the women in their lives, the survey found. And while most respondents agreed it’s a better time to be a man than a woman in our society, only Republican men thought it was a better time to be a woman than a man.
As women across the nation prepare to march in protest of an election in which gender loomed large, the poll results reveal nearly unanimous support for gender equality and policies that would help women — but deep partisan divides in the perception of inequality and of who’s thriving and who’s losing in society.
Many Americans seemed to think others had it better than they did, especially Republican men.
Over all, only 37 percent of respondents thought it was a good time to be a woman in the United States. Fewer thought it was a good time to be a minority woman; 24 percent said it was a good time to be a Latina, and 11 percent a Muslim woman.
Republican men seem to see it differently. Just over half thought it was a good time to be a woman, while only 41 percent of them thought it was a good time to be a man.
Donald J. Trump’s rhetoric has appealed to people who feel this way. At his victory rally in Cincinnati last month, he said about women: “I hate to tell you men, generally speaking, they’re better than you are. Now, if I said it the other way around, I’d be in big trouble.”
Dennis Halaszynski, 81, is a retired police captain in McKeesport, Pa., and a registered Democrat who voted for Mr. Trump. “It’s easier being a woman today than it is a man,” he said in an interview. “The white man is a low person on the totem pole. Everybody else is above the white man.”
Women “should be highly respected,” he said, but they are no longer unequal: “Everything in general is in favor of a woman. No matter what happens in life, it seems like the man’s always at fault.”
Democrats of both genders were much more likely to have felt unequal because of some aspect of their identity – 68 percent, compared with 47 percent of Republicans. Gender, race and religious views were the biggest reasons. The only reasons Republicans were more likely than Democrats to feel unequal were their religious views and military status.
There is overwhelming support for gender equality in work, life and politics: 93 percent of respondents said they believed in it. But 43 percent of male Trump voters said it had already been achieved. Only 20 percent of those polled and 12 percent of women agreed.