Why Global Citizens Should Care
Achieving gender equality is key to ending extreme poverty. Feminists believe men and women should be politically, economically, and socially equal. YouGov recently released a survey that shows where most people self-identify with the term. You can join us in taking action on this issue here

The most self-identifying feminists live in Sweden, France, Italy, Britain, Australia, the US, Turkey, Denmark, Mexico, and Germany. But people who live in countries that are further along in achieving gender equality don’t necessarily consider themselves feminists, according to a new survey.

The YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project polled 25,000 people in 23 countries, the Guardian reports. To assess attitudes toward gender, equal rights, and the #MeToo movement, participants answered questions about whether or not they consider themselves feminists, and if catcalling is acceptable.

In Sweden, 46% of people who responded to the poll consider themselves feminists, with France behind at nearly 30% — and over 25% of people in Italy and Britain. Sweden is often used as an example of a country close to achieving gender parity, due to its equal public health care, education, job opportunities, and generous parental leave policies. Sweden has nearly closed its wage gap between men and women (women get 88% of men’s wages).

In contrast, despite ranking as the best country for women in 2016, neighboring Denmark ranked as of the least feminist nations in the developed world. More Danish women are happy to be catcalled than would call themselves feminists and 35% disapprove of the #MeToo movement, according to the survey. One-third of Danish women say catcalling is acceptable, which is the highest proportion than in any other country than Nigeria. 

Antonia Kirkland, global lead on legal equality and access to justice at the organization Equality Now, told Global Citizen she was really surprised to see Denmark so far down on the list.

“Considering that Denmark is one of just six economies in the world according to the World Bank in which women and men have equal legal rights, perhaps it's not so surprising after all,” Kirkland explained.

“There is less urgency seen perhaps in Denmark for a feminist movement than in a place like the United States which lacks even a basic guarantee of equality in its constitution and feminists are still having to mobilize for an Equal Rights Amendment,” Kirkland said.

Read More: These Are the Best and Worst Countries to Be a Woman in 2018

Danes might tolerate low-level sexual harassment because they believe the behavior should be excused, Rikke Andreassen, professor of communication studies at Roskilde University, told the Guardian. Andreassen has conducted research on the #MeToo movement and found that Danish media has covered the issue in the media in culture and opinion sections, with very few men accused. Politicians in Denmark have also argued sexual harassment only affects Muslims living in the country, according to Andreassen. 

There are many other reasons why people who live in countries close to achieving gender equality still might not identify as feminists. The BBC published a report on the topic in February by Dr. Christina Scharff, a senior lecturer in culture, media, and creative industries at King's College London. Scharff found that in Europe and the US, where there’s recently been increased attention to feminists movements, some women do not feel the term “feminist” speaks to them. 

Antiquated stereotypes about feminists might deter people from associating with the term. Race plays a part as well. Shcarff noted that three-quarters of all women in one poll said that the feminist movement has done "a lot" to improve the lives of white women, which might prevent non-white women from associating with the term. Feminism is also likely to appeal to working-class women but those from lower-income backgrounds are just as likely to support equal rights. 

The top 10 countries where people label themselves feminists

  1. Sweden
  2. France
  3. Italy
  4. Britain
  5. Australia
  6. US
  7. Turkey
  8. Denmark
  9. Mexico
  10. Germany

The top five countries where people disapprove of the #MeToo Movement

  1. Denmark
  2. Sweden
  3. France
  4. Australia
  5. Germany

The top 10 countries where people consider catcalling acceptable

  1. Denmark
  2. Germany
  3. Britain
  4. Australia
  5. Sweden
  6. Italy
  7. US
  8. France
  9. Mexico
  10. Turkey


Demand Equity

The 10 Most Feminist Countries In The World

By Erica Sánchez  and  Leah Rodriguez