A collaborative analysis by The AP-NORC Center and the GSS staff using the 2018 General Social Survey shows attitudes trending toward greater gender equality in politics, the workforce, and at home. In politics, 84 percent of Americans believe women are just as suited emotionally for politics as men—an all-time high. While members of both parties increasingly share this view, more Republicans (17 percent) than Democrats (9 percent) say that women aren’t as well-suited as men for politics.
Americans are also largely supportive of working women, though some still express reservations. The majority of Americans—75 percent—disagree with the belief that it is best for men to work and women to stay in the home, another all-time high. Similarly, 74 percent agree that being a working mother doesn’t negatively impact her relationship with her child. But differences still emerge by education: Americans without a college degree express more skepticism on these measures.
In the workforce, however, Americans opinions about gender equality haven’t changed much. Sixty-four percent of Americans say women should not receive any preferential hiring or promotion to make up for past discrimination, a number that hasn’t moved much over the last two decades. Meanwhile 9 percent of women report facing gender discrimination in the workplace, with college-educated women particularly likely to say so.
Americans still remain sharply divided on abortion, with about equal shares supporting and opposing access to legal abortion because of concerns about having too many children, having enough money to support the child, or for any reason at all. Since the 1990s, the public has become increasingly divided along partisan lines on this issue. Today more Democrats continue to favor abortion rights while Republican support remains at low levels.