You are here:

Young people more likely to be feminist - research

Young people more likely to be feminist - research

Twice as many young people consider themselves to be feminists than those of their parents’ generation, a survey has revealed on International Women’s Day (Tuesday March 8th) – but one in ten people still say they don’t believe in equality of the sexes.

Girls’ rights charity Plan International UK asked the public whether they would describe themselves with the term ‘feminist’, with those aged 18 to 34 significantly more likely to do so.

Of those polled, 43 per cent of 18-34s said they either ‘somewhat’ or ‘completely’ considered themselves a feminist, while amongst older groups the equivalent figure was:

  • 19 per cent of those over 65,
  • 21 per cent of 55-64s
  • 23 per cent of 45-54s

The most passionately feminist group were women aged 18-24, half (49 per cent) of whom considered themselves feminist. This compared with just one in ten men over 65.

Asked whether they believed that men and women ‘should be treated equally and enjoy the same rights’ (without reference to the term feminism) around nine in ten people of all age groups agreed. Five per cent said they disagreed, while a further five per cent said they didn’t know.

Tanya Barron is the charity’s chief executive: “This International Women’s Day, the British public has shown itself to be pretty forward thinking on gender equality – though we would encourage the roughly one in ten who don’t believe in equality to think again!

“Here in the UK, we do know that ‘feminism’ can be a challenging word for some people. It’s really interesting to see the growing acceptance of the term among younger groups. Personally I feel inspired that we will be seeing more and more avowed feminists entering into leadership roles in the future.”

“We know from our work around the world that these attitudes are not universally shared,” she added. “Sadly, there are many societies in which women are still not considered as equals, and that can have devastating consequences.

The research, released to mark International Women’s Day, is part of Plan International UK’s Because I am a Girl campaign, which aims to ensure that girls around the world get the same opportunities as boys.

Recently, the charity successfully lobbied for an amendment to the Malawian constitution to fully outlaw child marriage, a practice with devastating health consequences for girls in the country.

Plan International UK has now launched a campaign to improve access to sexual and reproductive health services for girls in Uganda, where one in four teenage girls fall pregnant. The new campaign has been running in parallel with recent successful efforts to introduce statutory sex and relationships education in English schools.

“We should remember on International Women’s Day that in spite of huge progress for girls and women around the world in recent years, we still have a long way to go,” Ms Barron added.

About the research

Opinium polled a nationally representative sample of 2,003 adults (aged 18+). Fieldwork was carried out 21st to 24th February 2017 via online survey. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

Opinium is an award winning strategic insight agency built on the belief that in a world of uncertainty and complexity, success depends on the ability to stay on pulse of what people think, feel and do.