A recent survey by the Pew Research Center showed that a higher percentage of Americans believe that being a man helps rather than hinders a person’s chances of getting ahead. Conversely, more Americans think that being a woman hinders rather than helps.
The statistics indicate that 60% of U.S. adults believe being a man contributes to success, compared to 14% who think it is a hindrance. On the other hand, 50% of adults think being a woman hampers success, while only 24% believe it helps.
Stability in beliefs
These perceptions have remained relatively stable since the same questions were posed in 2019 and 2020. Nevertheless, disparities persist among various demographic groups in their views on the advantages or disadvantages associated with being a man or woman in the U.S.
When examining the impact of gender on success, 67% of women assert that being a man at least somewhat helps in getting ahead, with 48% claiming it helps a lot. In contrast, 52% of men believe being a man aids their success, with 28% stating it helps a lot.
Significant differences emerge across age groups and education levels. Women under 30 are more likely than older women to believe being a man is advantageous—76% compared to the latter’s 64%. Additionally, women with a bachelor’s degree or higher are more inclined to think being a man helps compared to those with less education (79% vs. 61%).
Differences between left and right-wingers are also apparent, with 43% of Republicans stating that being a man helps, 22% claiming it hurts, and 34% asserting it neither helps nor hurts. In contrast, 77% of Democrats believe being a man is beneficial.
Similar to perceptions of being a man, views on being a woman differ across demographic groups. Examining the impact of gender on women’s success, 58% of women believe being a woman hinders, while only 40% of men agree.
Younger adults, both women and men, are more likely to think being a woman is a disadvantage. Among women under 30, 70% believe being a woman hinders success, compared to 55% of women aged 30 and older. Likewise, 50% of men under 30 share this view, compared to 37% of men aged 30 and older.
Degrees shaping views
Educational differences are evident as well. Women with a bachelor’s degree or higher are more likely to believe being a woman hinders success (68%) compared to those with some college or less education (53%).
Republicans vs. Democrats
Party affiliation also plays a role, with Republicans expressing mixed views on whether being a woman helps, hurts, or has no impact. In contrast, a majority of Democrats (68%) believe being a woman is a hindrance.
Republican women are twice as likely as men to think being a woman is a disadvantage. Meanwhile, as mentioned, a large share of Democrats think being a woman is a hindrance, but women are more likely than their male counterparts to share this.
The survey reflects enduring gender-based beliefs in the U.S. While a majority sees advantages in being a man, women face perceived hindrances. Demographic variations, particularly age, education, and political affiliation, underscore the nuanced nature of these beliefs.
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