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Only four-in-ten Americans say that society generally treats men and women equally. Attitudes have changed considerably in this regard over the past 20 years. When it comes to the workplace, there is an even stronger sense among the public that the playing field is uneven. A strong majority of Americans say the country needs to continue making changes to give men and women equality in this realm. There is a disconnect, however, between these public perceptions and what people actually experience in their workplace. Very few adults say these gender gaps exist where they work.
This section will examine attitudes about gender equality, the wage gap and the glass ceiling. It will look at the experiences of men and women in the workplace and address what the public sees as the most important reasons for the inequalities that persist. The public is divided on the basic question of how society treats men and women. Four-in-ten say society generally treats men and women equally. Attitudes have changed considerably over the past 20 years. The perception among women that men receive more favorable treatment cuts across generations.
College-educated women are among the most likely to say men and women are not treated equally by society. When respondents are asked specifically about conditions in the workplace, there is a strong sense that more needs to be done to bring about gender equality. The gender gap is narrower among Gen Xers and Boomers.
There is a ificant racial divide on this question. The racial gap is larger among men than among women. The perception that there was a wage gap in favor of men was much more widespread 30 years ago. Today, there is a ificant gender gap in views about how men and women are paid. Women are fairly united in their views on this question.
The perception that men are generally paid more than women for doing the same work cuts across different generations of women. There is a ificant education gap on this question, however. Women who believe the country has made the changes needed to bring about gender equality in the workplace tend to also believe men and women are given equal pay for doing the same work.
While women have made substantial gains in the workplace in recent decades, there is clear evidence that women remain underrepresented at the top levels of American business and politics. According to recent research from Catalyst, women currently hold 4. Views on this issue have changed ificantly in recent decades. Today, men and women have very different views on this issue.
Among men, the balance of opinion is different. Women across generations agree about the ability for women Are men and women equal get top executive jobs these days. The education gap on this question is particularly wide—for both men and women. Overall, college-educated adults are much more likely than those without a four-year college degree to say men have an advantage when it comes to hiring for executive-level positions. This is relevant, because college-educated women are more likely than their counterparts with less education to be competing for top-level jobs.
In spite of the general perception, especially among women, that men have an advantage in terms of earning power and access to top jobs, relatively few employed adults report these types of inequities at their own workplace. Among those who are employed, blacks are about twice as likely as whites or Hispanics to report that women are paid less in their workplace. One-in-five blacks say women are paid less than men where they work. This compares with Are men and women equal of both whites and Hispanics. Just as most employed adults say there is no gender wage gap where they work, a solid majority say men and women have about the same opportunities for promotions or advancement.
Men and women have similar views on this issue. Perceptions do not vary depending on whether women have themselves sought out a raise or promotion. Roughly equal shares of women who say they have asked for a pay raise or promotion and those who say they have not done so report that, at their workplace, men and women have about the same opportunities for advancement.
As the economic data in Chapter 1 make clear, there is a gap in wages between men and women. It may be shrinking, but it still exists, and a variety of factors may contribute to this gap. Respondents were asked to evaluate the importance of a few of these factors. The most compelling explanation for the wage gap, according to the public, is that men and women make different choices about how to balance work and family.
Four-in-ten adults say the fact that men and women work in different occupations is a major reason.
There are ificant gender gaps on this question, particularly with regard to the choices men and women make about balancing work and family and differential treatment by employers. Women are much more likely than men to see both of these explanations as major reasons for the wage gap. Economic data confirm that women work fewer hours per week, on average, than men.
And among women, mothers, non-whites and those with less than a college education are particularly likely to see this as a major factor. There is no ificant gender gap on this question. There is an interesting generation gap on this question. Majorities of Millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers and Silents say that among the people they know, men and women are equally focused on their jobs or careers. Income and education gaps also exist on this question. Still, majorities in all income and education groups say the men and women they know are equally focused on their jobs or careers. Opinions also vary by race and ethnicity.
While there are still some male- and female-dominated occupations in the U. Still, a substantial minority of adults think that men would prefer to work alongside other men. There is a ificant gender gap in perceptions about what men prefer. Millennials of both genders are more likely than older generations to believe that men prefer having women as co-workers.
Again, there is a gender gap in perceptions. Fewer than one-in-ten of both genders say they would prefer to have women as co-workers. Are you a Core Conservative?
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About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Newsletters Donate My. Research Topics. Equal Pay for Equal Work? Wide partisan divide on whether voting is a fundamental right or a privilege with responsibilities.
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Are men and women really equal or is equality defined differently?