One perk of being a man is the freedom to adopt an attitude that’s anything between blissful ignorance and outright denial when it comes to the reality of gender inequality. Take, for instance, the recent comments from Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Kevin Roberts that the gender-equality debate in the advertising industry was over. These comments rightfully sparked outrage and led to his resignation — but recent poll numbers indicate that his thought process is both incredibly common and by no means limited to one industry.
The Pew Research Center surveyed 4,602 nationally representative adults, from June 7 through July 5, on the topic of gender inequality. Per the survey:
Just over half of Americans (53%) say there are “still significant obstacles that make it harder for women to get ahead than men,” while somewhat fewer (45%) say “the obstacles that once made it harder for women than men to get ahead are now largely gone.”
Yes, 45 percent of Americans think it’s an entirely level playing field between men and women out there. But that figure increases significantly when you focus on just the men surveyed — and even more when it’s limited to Republican men. Fifty-six percent of all men say that the obstacles preventing women from getting ahead are largely gone, while a whopping 75 percent of Republican men believe that.
Well, some obstacles I can name right off the top of my head include workplace sexual harassment, the gender pay gap, terrible maternal leave policies, and restricted reproductive health care — but they must’ve just forgotten about all that stuff.