Should Women Have Equal Rights?June 27, 2008
No, I’m not talking about whether the Equal Rights Amendment should be approved. I’m referring to some statistics I happened to run across while researching another story. NationMaster.com, a site that compiles statistics from numerous sources, provides the following table of the percentage of women agreeing with the statement, “Women should have equal rights,” in a 1999 poll:
#1 Netherlands: 80%
#2 Australia: 77%
#3 United Kingdom: 73%
#4 Canada: 70%
#5 Belgium: 70%
#6 Germany: 70%
#7 United States: 62%
#8 Switzerland: 39%
#9 Japan: 21%
A quick search of the Internet didn’t come up with a later survey (if you know of one, please share), so let’s take a look at this one. Less than 10 years ago, only 62% of U.S. women agreed that women should have equal rights. It begs the question, then, that if the poll were conducted today, would the response rate improve, remain the same, or (pause in shock) skew lower?
This year alone, Hilary Clinton’s campaign created a heightened awareness of women in politics and other positions of power for many Americans, let alone those interested in such topics. From some of the comments I have read or heard, I know there are plenty of people today who still don’t believe a woman should be president of the United States. Do more people now — or fewer — believe in equal rights for women in general?
I know what AAUW’s research highlights. Our Behind the Pay Gap report shows that, just one year out of college, women working full time already earn less than their male colleagues earn, even when they work in the same field. Ten years after graduation, the pay gap widens. How about we start with pay equity at least?