This research brief presents nationally representative survey data and focus group discussions in the United States on male allyship for gender equality. Results from the study provide guidance for workplaces seeking to create cultures of respect, equality, and inclusivity and for men seeking to better understand what women want and need from them as allies for gender equality.
While most men say that they want to support gender equality, they are not necessarily taking steps to reduce gender discrimination and harassment. This brief focuses in on that gap, providing both insights and concrete suggestions for actions men can take to demonstrate their commitment to gender equality at home and at work.
Most men support women’s leadership in political and professional domains, understand that barriers exist to achieving this, and express interest in being active allies and partners for gender equality. When it comes to women’s leadership, more specifically, 70 percent of men believe there should be more women in positions of political power, and 60 percent of men support having more women leaders in their workplace. Two-thirds of men agreed that women continue to face “major barriers” in their chosen professions. At home, 88 percent of men affirm they are doing everything they can to support their partner’s career. However, when it comes to individual action and how far men are willing to go to advance gender equality, women report that men overstate their efforts to be allies and lack an understanding of the issues women face. While 77 percent of men report doing “everything they can” to support gender equality at work, only 41 percent of women agree. What about collective action for change, like #MeToo? While some felt the movement was overdue and raised awareness of important issues, many men and women seem fatigued – and maybe even threatened – by these social movements. Nearly 60 percent of men and 46 percent of women feel #MeToo, #TimesUp, and all the attention to sexual harassment has “gone too far.” In the same survey, 50 percent of men and 40 percent of women felt the discussion on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) rights had gone too far as well. Even if there is some fatigue about the social movements in this space, women clearly want tangible action from men, particularly for them to call other men out when acting in sexist or discriminatory ways. Even though 48 percent of men agree that in the past year they’ve become more aware of discrimination faced by women in the workplace, nearly 60 percent of women and men agree it’s rare to see men speak out against discrimination against women. The good news is men say they want to do something. The bad news is they are not doing enough. It’s time to turn intention into action. While most men say that they want to support gender equality, they are not necessarily taking steps to reduce gender discrimination and harassment. This brief focuses in on that gap, providing both insights and concrete suggestions for actions men can take to demonstrate their commitment to gender equality at home and at work. 6 INSIGHT #1 At work and in politics, men support increased female leadership and want to create a more