International Women’s Day: Global misperceptions of equality and the need to Press for Progress

To mark International Women’s Day, and in the wake of the #MeToo campaign, a new global study by Ipsos in collaboration with International Women’s Day across 27 countries highlights the level of concern people around the world have about a number of equality issues. 

In the United States, the findings show:

Much like the rest of the world, Americans agree that sexual harassment (36%) is the biggest issue facing women and girls today. Sexual violence and equal pay come in as the second biggest concerns with 28% agreeing that these are among the most important issues for women.

American people were relatively accurate when asked to estimate how many of every 100 women have experienced sexual harassment in their adult lives: 60% of women in the United States say they have experienced sexual harassment in their adult lives, yet the average guess among Americans is that 57% of women have. However, men tended to greatly underestimate the prevalence (49%).

Half of all respondents in the study still think that reports of sexual harassment are ignored – though in the US this falls to 38%. Three in four Americans (78%) support a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment.

Americans hugely overestimate the pace of change on pay and economic equality. In the US, people think economic equality will be achieved within 50 years by 2068, however, it has been estimated that economic equality will take 167 years longer (2117). Americans estimate equal pay will be achieved in their country in 2028, however, the predicted year is 2059 – 31 years later.

Americans also overestimate women’s representation in business leadership, believing that 18% of CEOs in the largest 500 companies around the world are women, when representation is actually one-sixth of the estimate (3%).

Seven of ten Americans (70%) say that achieving equality among genders is important to them. When asked if things would work better if more women held positions with responsibilities in government and companies, 61% of Americans agreed.

Close to half of all participants in the study think things have gone far enough when it comes to giving women equal rights (45%).  Americans, however, are not so complacent – with only 35% saying things have gone far enough, and 53% disagreeing.

For more results and study methodology details, visit


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