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Mar 14, 2016

#TheFWord: A SheKnows Media Study on Feminism Spotlights Women’s Complicated Relationship and Identification with Feminism

While Nearly Half of Women Overall Identify as Feminist, Feminism Takes a Backseat During the Middle, Multi-Tasking Years of a Woman’s Life (ages 30-54)

Those Who Do Not Identify as Feminist Feel Excluded from the Movement, Whether Due to Their Identity or Lifestyle/Lifestage

Women Have Universally Benefitted from Past Feminist Advocacy Work, but Many Still Report Experiencing Sexist Behaviors on a Regular Basis

NEW YORK, NY – March 14, 2016 – SheKnows Media, a leading women’s media company with 91 million unique visitors per month1 and a total reach of 269 million social media fans, announces that it has published #TheFWord: A SheKnows Media Study on Feminism – new proprietary research that reveals how women today define and identify with feminism across lifestyle and demographic categories.

Fielded in late December 2015, #TheFWord online survey analyzed responses from more than 1,600 people in the United States – 98% of whom were women – to understand what factors shape perspectives on feminism, whether they have benefitted from the movement’s advancements and what work remains to be done.

#TheFWord study revealed the following top-level findings:

Identification with feminism is split – and one-third of the women surveyed are on the fence.

Forty-six percent of the women who took the survey responded to the question, “Do you identify as a feminist?” with yes, while 22% said no and 32% were on the fence, with 26% reporting “It depends” and 6% saying they were “not sure”.

Three clear age delineations were observed:

  • Mid-Millennial women ages 25 to 29, as well as those from the Boomer generation ages 55 to 64 most strongly identify with being a feminist, with 53% and 54% responding yes to the question, respectively.
  • Feminist identification takes a 10-point dip among older Millennial and Generation X women ages 30 to 54. Forty-four percent of this cohort responded with yes to the question.

Race also plays a major role for on-the-fence women:

  • Women of color were most likely to respond “It depends” or “Not sure” to the question of whether they identify as feminist.
  • Twenty-five percent of African American, 21% of Asian and 17% of Hispanic agreed with statements that feminism mostly represents white, highly-educated, and or upper-income women, as compared to just 8% of White women.

Those who are explicitly not feminist fall into two camps:

  • Two groups of women are most likely to identify as non-feminist: African American women breadwinners with more traditional values and White conservative stay-at-home mothers. While even these non-feminists chose the dictionary definition of feminism most frequently as the top definition (42%), for this group the definition as “a movement that rejects traditional values” was close behind (40%).

“Feminism is a timely but polarizing topic, with a lot of headlines – and controversy – focused on the issue,” said Elisa Camahort Page, SheKnows Media’s Chief Community Officer. “Despite that spotlight, SheKnows Media realized there was a gap in understanding how women in this country view the movement, how factors like life stage, race and lifestyle shape their perceptions of it, and how that in turn impacts their stance on issues like the 2016 election, equal pay by law, reproductive rights and marriage equality. #TheFWord study reveals that feminism is complex, and who does and does not identify as a feminist cannot be painted with broad brushstrokes. It’s clear that feminist leaders have work to do to make the movement more inclusive and relevant, particularly to women of color, women outside the workforce, and men, as potential fellow beneficiaries and allies.”

Women all reap the benefits of the movement, but #TheFemaleTax takes a toll.

Regardless of identification as feminist or not, women report benefiting from rights that the movement has afforded them to a near equal degree. Among the study’s cohort:

  • 96% of feminists and 91% of non-feminists have voted
  • 95% of feminists and 90% of non-feminists have taken out a credit card in their name
  • 92% of feminists and 89% of non-feminists have used birth control
  • 65% of feminists and 63% of non-feminists have started their own business
  • 20% of feminists and 17% of non-feminists have terminated a pregnancy

However, negative experiences can also shape feminist views, and feminist or not, women ultimately pay #TheFemaleTax – SheKnows Media’s term for the extra emotional and monetary price that women pay in the form of sexist micro- (and not so micro-) aggressions.

#TheFWord study found that 67% of feminists and 40% of non-feminists report being more frequently interrupted than male counterparts, and 66% of feminists and 43% of non-feminists believe they have had their ideas overlooked because of their gender. At the most extreme, 63% of feminists and 44% of non-feminists have been sexually harassed.

This is especially pertinent as Equal Pay Day on April 12 approaches, given that women overall still earn $.78 compared to a man’s $1.2 But even this well-known wage gap statistic masks the fact that the discrepancy is worse for women of color, as African American and Hispanic women earn just $.64 and .54%, respectively, in this same scenario. 

Feminism’s impact on presidential candidate preference.

If the presidential election were held today, #TheFWord survey found that Hillary Clinton (D) and Bernie Sanders (D) would earn 59% and 36% of votes by those who identify as feminist, respectively. Among non-feminists, Clinton and Sanders would garner 23% and 16% of the votes, respectively. Only 2% of feminists said they favor Trump, compared to 37% among non-feminists. Marco Rubio (R) is liked the least by women regardless of their feminist affiliation, with only 3% of feminists and 6% of non-feminists agreeing that they would vote for him.

To request the full set of #TheFWord study findings, third-party validated and analyzed by Research Narrative, click here. More information about SheKnows Media can be found at corporate.sheknows.com

1 comScore, Media Metrix, Multiplatform Key Measures Report, January 2016, U.S.

2 American Association of University Women: http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/


About SheKnows Media

SheKnows Media is the number-one women’s lifestyle digital media company with 91 million unique visitors per month (comScore, Media Metrix, Multiplatform Key Measures Report, January 2016, U.S.) and 269 million social media fans and followers. The company operates a family of leading media properties that include SheKnows.com, BlogHer.com and StyleCaster.com. SheKnows Media also organizes the conference #BlogHer16: Experts Among Us, the largest annual celebration of women online content creators, social media influencers and brand executives, taking place in Los Angeles, August 4-6, 2016. With a mission of women inspiring women, SheKnows Media is revolutionizing the publishing industry by forging a new kind of model that seamlessly integrates users, editors and content creators onto a single platform designed to empower all women to discover, share and create. Whether it’s parenting or pop culture, fashion or food, DIY or décor, our award-winning editorial team, Experts, bloggers and social media influencers produce authentic and on-trend content every day. We dig deep to learn what makes our audience tick, revealing unexpected insights on women and digital media. Our robust, end-to-end suite of premium branded content and influencer marketing solutions generate more than 2 billion ad impressions per month (sources: DFP), allowing brands to distribute authentic content and integrated advertising at scale.

SheKnows Media is based in New York and Scottsdale, Ariz., with offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and Redwood City, Calif. We also operate internationally in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

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