Two New Polls on International Women’s Day Show Changing Attitudes Toward the Global #MeToo Movement

On Thursday, March 8, International Women’s Day was celebrated throughout the world.  Despite this, the struggle for equality, dignity and equal rights for women continues, and in many ways is as difficult as ever.

In a new poll from NBC News, it was found that the majority of people in the United States thinks that the #MeToo movement has helped address the important issue of equality for women.  These people believe that shining a spotlight on sexual harassment has helped address gender inequality in ways that have never done before.

According to the survey, 51 percent of participants said they are of the opinion that increased reporting of sexual assault has helped women close the “gender gap.” Twenty percent of survey respondents, however, thought that increased reporting by women has lead to men being treated less fairly. Twenty six percent said that increased reporting of sexual assaults and sexual harassment has made no difference in American society.

In February, President Trump gave his opinion of the #MeToo movement when he said that “peoples’ lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”  This is ironic when you consider that between 15 tand 20 women have made allegations against Trump himself, and he was still elected President of the United States. Clearly his life was not “shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”

What is true is that the #MeToo movement has ended the careers of many powerful men in many different industries. The movement was given momentum by the scandal of movie producer Harvey Weinstein, and Senator Al Franken had to resign from Congress.

“The changes we are witnessing are being driven by the sound of powerful new voices, of different voices, of our voices, together in a mighty chorus that is finally saying ‘times up,'” said actress Ashley Judd, one of Weinstein’s accusers, during the Oscars.  

With respect to the global #MeToo movement, there was a new 8-country survey conducted by Harris Poll for CARE, the poverty-fighting organization, in honor of International Women’s Day.

The Harris Poll found that in Egypt, 62% of men think it is acceptable for an employer to expect an employee to have intimate interactions such as sex with them, a relative or a friend.  This is astounding when you consider how such things are now dealt with in the United States.

Other global results include the following:

  1. In India, 39% of men say it’s perfectly fine to do things like  “wolf-whistle” or “cat-call” at women colleagues.
  2. In the United Kingdom, 36% of men under the age of 35 see no problem with pinching the bottoms of women colleagues — they think such behavior is perfectly acceptable.

Although much work needs to be done with respect to the treatment of women around the world, it is generally thought that the #MeToo moment is giving new hope to women who want to be treated with respect and dignity.  We can also hope that this is true, and real progress is being made.