Europeans are split on whether feminism has been positive for women in work

Tanya AbrahamAssociate Director of Political and Social Research
March 08, 2018, 7:46 AM UTC

Norwegians are the most optimistic, while Danes and Germans are the most likely to think feminism has either made no difference or made things worse for women

The ‘Me Too’ movement, and other similar campaigns, have shone a spotlight on the prevalence of sexism, particularly in the workplace.

However new YouGov Eurotrack research across seven countries reveals that Europeans are likely to be sceptical about these new movements making an impact at work. The survey reveals divisions over whether or not feminism has, to date, made things better for women in the workplace.

Between 26% and 52% of people in the seven nations say they believe feminism has made working experiences better for women. By contrast, 27% to 46% believe that it has either made no difference or actively made things worse.

However, the data shows that attitudes vary widely by nationality. Norwegians have the highest net likelihood of believing feminism has improved work for women (+25), while Germany and Denmark have the lowest net scores (-14 and -15 respectively). Here in Britain the score stands at +8, with 43% saying it has made things better and 35% thinking it has made things worse or made no difference.

Given this, it is perhaps unsurprising that Europeans are similarly split on how well companies are doing at ensuring equal and fair treatment of both genders in the workplace. For instance, the net score for whether or not people feel that companies are effectively protecting staff from sexism and harassment ranges from a high of +28 in Denmark (where 53% think they are doing well and 25% badly) to a low of -18 in France (where only 36% think they are doing well and 54% badly).

Similarly, when asked whether or not companies are doing well or badly at ensuring equal treatment for male and female staff, the net results range from a high of +44 in Norway (66% well/22% badly) and +41 in Denmark (64% well/23% badly) to lows of -9 in France (41% well/50% badly) and -10 in Germany (39% well/49% badly).

With today being International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme being #PressforProgress, the results show that there is much still that feminism must achieve. But with campaign groups having put the pressure on abusive men and employers like never before, the odds of real gains being made are getting stronger by the day.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here