Women’s and men’s identification as feminists

What proportions of women and men call themselves feminists? There are some basic patterns in feminist identification:

  • Substantial proportions of women – typically one-third to one-half – identify as feminists.
  • Lower proportions of men, but still substantial in many countries, identify as feminists.
  • People are more likely to call themselves feminists when a clear definition of the term is presented to them. (See Jaclyn Siegel’s discussion of this on XY, here.)

In a 2023 survey by the Survey Center on American Life, of 5,055 adults (aged 18 and up) living in the United States:

  • 53% of women and 43% of men identify as feminists.
    • The degree of gender difference in identification as feminists varies by generation. Women and men identify as feminist at similar levels among Millennials (54% of women and 52% of men) and Generation X (49% of women and 43% of men).
    • Baby boomer men are less likely than women to claim the feminist label. There is a significant gender gap in feminist identity among baby boomers and Generation Z. Among baby boomers, 50% of women and 38% of men claim the label.
    • It is among Generation Z (aged 18-26) that feminist identity is most polarized: 61% of Gen Z women identify as feminist, compared to 43% of Gen Z men.
  • A majority of Americans believe that feminism has made America a better place. 59% agree that feminism has improved American society, and 39% disagree. Women are more likely than men to say that feminism has benefited the United States (63% vs 53%).

In a 2020 U.S. survey by the Pew Research Center:

  • 61% of U.S. women say that “feminist” describes them very (19%) or somewhat (42%) well. (Summary here. Data here.)
  • 40% of U.S. men say that “feminist” describes them very (9%) or somewhat (31%) well.

In a 2018 survey by Ipsos across 27 countries;

  • Over half (57%) of people defined themselves as a feminist, someone who advocates and supports equal opportunities for women while three in ten (32%) disagree. There were variations by country. Agreement was highest in South Africa, India, Italy and China and lowest in Japan, Russia and Germany.
  • For example, in the USA, 58% of women and 56% of men define themselves as feminists. In Australia, 59% of women and 44% of men do so. In Great Britain, 57% of women and 49% of men do so.
  • However, when people were asked if they define themselves as a feminist without an explanation as to what one is, then levels of agreement fall significantly. Overall just under four in ten (37%) agreed compared with nearly half (48%) who disagree. 
  • (Data here – see page 26 on feminist identification.)

In a 2021 Australian survey among 18,360 Australians;

  • 51% of people – including 69% of women and 34% of men – said that they considered themselves as feminists. (See here.)

In an August 2018 survey by YouGov in the USA, asked, “In general, do you consider yourself to be a feminist?”,

  • 30% of Americans – including 38% of women and 22% of men – agreed that they consider themselves to be feminists.
  • This was a slight increase on feminist identification in 2016. In 2016, 26% of Americans agreed that they consider themselves to be feminists. This included 32% of women and 19% of men.
  • (Summary here. Data here.)

In a March 2018 survey by YouGov, among adults in various countries;

  • The proportion of adults that agreed they are feminists included 27% in Great Britain, 8% in Germany, 33% in France, 40% in Sweden, 22% in Denmark, 29% in Norway, and 17% in Finland.
  • However, much higher proportions agreed that they were feminists when they were given a definition of feminism. (“One definition of a feminist is someone who thinks men and women should have equal rights and status in society, and be treated equally in every way. Are you a feminist?”)
  • The proportion of adults that then agreed they are feminists included 60% in Great Britain, 42% in Germany, 70% in France, 70% in Sweden, 52% in Denmark, 61% in Norway, and 52% in Finland.
  • (Data here.)

In a 2018 UK survey of 1,903 girls and young women aged 7 to 21;

  • Almost half (47%) identified as feminists. This represented an increase on the 2013 figure, of 35%. (Summary here.)

In a 2016 U.S. survey by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation;

  • 60% of women and 33% of men call themselves a feminist or strong feminist.
  • Among women, 17% considered themselves to be a strong feminist, 43% considered themselves to be a feminist, 30% saw themselves as not a feminist, and 2% considered themselves to be an anti-feminist.
  • Among men, 10% considered themselves to be a strong feminist, 23% considered themselves to be a feminist, 50% saw themselves as not a feminist, and 5% considered themselves to be an anti-feminist.
  • (See here.)

In a 2016 poll by the Fawcett Society among women in the UK,

  • Asked if they described themselves as a feminist, only 9.2% of women did so. However, 64.9% agreed that “I believe in equality for women and men but I don’t describe myself as a feminist.” (See here for the data, p. 14. See here for a media report.)

In a 2014 UK poll by OnePoll

  • Only 36% of British adults define themselves as a feminist, yet 76% support political, economic and social equality between women and men. (Summary here.)

Also see