Everyone benefits from a more gender-equal society — but some young men in the UK believe that feminism has gone overboard in its pursuit for equality.
The UK-based anti-extremism charity HOPE not hate released a new report on Monday that found half of the young men surveyed believe feminism "has gone too far and makes it harder for men to succeed."
The charity surveyed 2,076 young men between 16 and 24 years old about their ideological beliefs during the COVID-19 pandemic in the report entitled "Young People in the Time of COVID-19."
Only 21% of male participants did not agree that feminism had gone too far. Less than half of male participants, 39%, believed it is a more dangerous time to be a woman than a man in Britain today. Meanwhile, nearly 1 in 5 had "negative" views about feminists.
HOPE not hate attributes the anti-feminist perspective popular among younger millennial and Generation Z men to the growing far-right ideology in the UK.
"Men’s rights and anti-feminism are increasingly becoming a slip road to the far right, appealing to young men feeling emasculated in an age of changing social norms," the report said.
Gen Z sexism: 50% of young men thought ‘feminism has gone too far & makes it harder for men to succeed’, 23% disagreed that it was more dangerous to be a woman than a man, 18% held a negative view of feminists & 16% believed feminism had no role in today’s society— HOPE not hate (@hopenothate) August 3, 2020
HOPE not hate’s data is in line with research conducted by the women’s rights organization Fawcett Society, which found that young men are threatened by feminism. The Fawcett Society, however, also noted that younger men are more likely to identify as feminists, according to Fawcett Society Chief Executive Sam Smethers.
"This explains the high levels of misogyny, abuse, casualized violence, and objectification women experience every day," Smethers told Global Citizen via email. "We need a step change in men's attitudes if we are going to reverse it."
Despite the perceptions of young men surveyed, critics would argue that feminism has not gone far enough in the UK. The UK now ranks 21st on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Equality Index. Women in the country remain underrepresented in politics, and the gender pay gap is not narrowing.
Furthermore, the economic crisis spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting women much harder than men as they’re more likely to hold jobs in industries impacted by the crisis. The pandemic is also causing a spike in domestic violence cases while women are trapped at home with their abusers.
Although the survey represented a widespread belief that feminism is at the expense of men, gender equality actually improves men’s lives. The World Health Organization found that in 41 European countries, men’s health was weaker in more gender-unequal societies. Men also report they are more satisfied with life when women have more rights.