As part of the launch of their first ever HeForShe Impact Awards, the Singapore Committee for UN Women "unpacked" feminism and attitudes towards gender equality in Singapore during the month of March through a public survey. Respondents were both male and female of ages 13 and above.
The results were inspiring, with 32% of males and 67.3% of females indicating that they identify with feminist goals.
Although the majority of all respondents felt that feminism is about equality between men and women and that it addresses the societal roots that promote gender discrimination, 45.9% of males who answered the survey also feel that feminism excludes troublesome issues that men face while 25% feel that it is about female superiority rather than equality. A key finding was that 33.7% of males and 22% of females feel that men by definition cannot be feminists and were therefore unsure of whether they can be a part of the movement for gender equality.
Popular myths about feminists were shattered, with only 2.3% of all participants believing that feminists hate men and 1.5% of participants believing that feminists do not want children or a family, of which none were male.
67% of respondents felt that our cultural beliefs in Singapore promote gender inequality through gender stereotypes, of which 17% were male. Changing the narratives of these beliefs, superstitions and stories that define us is a key part of the Singapore Committee for UN Women's work under the Help Anna campaign.
The Help Anna campaign also raises awareness on steps that all individuals can take to address gender inequality through altering their own choices and actions, as well as through engaging with their community and peers. This is especially important because 31% of all respondents felt that both men and women are responsible for propagating social and cultural norms that promote gender inequality, 7% felt that men were primarily responsible and 3% felt that women were primarily responsible.
Within the home, although 87.3% of all respondents agreed that partners should share the responsibility for household chore, 56.9% of those who agreed that women should be the primary caregivers of children were male. At the same time, 67% of respondents felt that men are equally suited to be stay at home spouses, of which 22% were male.
Within the workplace, 91% of all respondents disagreed that men are more professional and make better employees and 57% of all respondents agreed that women earn less than men even when they perform the same work equally well. However, the awareness that workplace policies are influenced by gender stereotypes disadvantaging women was lower amongst males, as was the fact that global statistics show that men are more likely to get promoted even if men and women perform equally well at the same work.
The data garnered from this survey will be key in informing the Singapore Committee's future initiatives to create an inclusive approach that invites men and boys to build on the work of the women’s movement as equal partners in the crafting and implementation of a shared vision of gender equality that will benefit all of humanity. Research estimates suggest that if we continue on our current trajectory, gender equality will be achieved by 2095.
With men and boys at the table and engaged on the issue, we believe that we can more than halve that estimate.