If you ask a man in the United States about gender equality, he is likely to say that the country has made great strides in the 50 years since the passage of the landmark anti-discrimination law known as Title IX. But if you ask a woman, the answer will probably be very different.
According to the survey conducted by The Associated Press, the NORC Center for Public Affairs Studies and the National Museum of Women’s History, the majority of adults in the United States believe that progress has been made toward gender equality since 1972. That It was the year that Congress passed Title IX, a one-sentence law that prohibits gender discrimination in education.
But there are big differences of opinion about how advanced and in what facets of life.
However, some of the deepest divisions were between men and women: 61% of men say a lot of progress has been made towards gender equality, while only 37% of women agree, according to the survey. .
Among women, 50% think that some progress has been made in this area and 13% think that little or no progress has been made.
“We’ve fought a lot, we’ve won a little bit, but we haven’t really achieved equality,” said Brenda Theiss, 68, a retired ophthalmologist from Vinemont, Alabama. The advances that began in the 1970s appear to have stalled, she said, with continued pay gaps and battles over women’s reproductive rights.
Title IX, passed after other key civil rights laws, sought to extend the protection of women to the field of education. Today she is best known for her impact in the world of sports and in the fight against sexual harassment and assault.
As the nation approaches its 50th anniversary of the law, most Americans have a positive opinion of the measure. 63% support it, with majorities among both men and women. Only 5% said they did not support it and the rest said they were neutral or that they were not sure.
However, among the American population, there are several differences of opinion about what progress has been made with the law.
In addition to men, among Republicans, the majority also say that much progress has been made, with 65% thinking so. Among Democrats, 39% feel the same way.
Among women, those aged 50 and over tend to think that great strides have been made in certain areas such as leadership or employment and educational opportunities.
Milan Ramsey, 29, said it was “remarkable how far we’ve come considering how uneven it still feels”.
She noted that sexism is hard to avoid in today’s society, whether in unequal access to health care or in everyday offenses like being hissed at. But he knows it has been worse. Once, looking at her mother’s childhood photos, she pointed out a pair of pants that she said was her first pair.
“He remembers it because he couldn’t wear pants to school until he was like 7 years old,” said Ramsey, from Santa Monica, California.
As a child growing up in the 1970s, Karen Dunlap said she benefited from Title IX right away. Women’s soccer leagues were first springing up, she says. Her mother didn’t take long to sign her up.
“But at the same time, it didn’t stay that way,” he added.
“The push for equality has been around long enough that it would have worked,” Dunlap said. “There should be some difference.”
According to the survey, Americans estimate that the impact of Title IX has been felt in some areas more than others. More than half say it has had a positive impact on opportunities for women in sports, and a similar proportion say the same about educational opportunities in general.
However, only 36% believe that the law has helped combat sexual harassment in schools and 31% believe that it has had a positive impact in protecting LGBTQ students from discrimination.
At the same time, there are signs that not all of the population fully understand the law. A third of those surveyed said they were not sure Title IX had affected them personally, and a quarter were also unsure about the law’s impact in other areas.