Follow for more talkers

Study: Younger men have harder time accepting women’s rights

The team surveyed 32,469 people across the EU’s 27 countries.

Avatar photo


Young unemployed man sitting on the sofa
The trend was found to be most prominent in areas with high unemployment. (Ground Picture via Shutterstock)

By Danny Halpin via SWNS

Men under 30 have more difficulty accepting advances in women’s rights than older men, according to a new study from Europe.

Young men see themselves as being in competition with women and are therefore more likely to vote in favor of right-wing, anti-feminist political candidates, say the research team that conducted The EU-wide study.

The researchers, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, said that as Western democracies become more gender-equal, many young men begin to oppose further advancements as they see women’s progress being at their expense.


The trend is most prominent in areas with high unemployment and less trust in institutions, according to the findings.

Gefjon Off, a Ph.D. student, said: “Some people believe that increased gender equality only benefits women and do not see the benefits for society as a whole.

“Some research suggests that this feeling of injustice can even motivate citizens to vote for right-wing radical parties who are against feminism and sexual freedom.”

Previous research has shown how a perceived sense of injustice and competition between men and women affects political attitudes and voting behavior.

The current study, published in the journal Frontiers in Political Science, surveyed 32,469 people across the EU’s 27 countries.

Respondents were asked to state to what extent they agree with the statement that promoting women’s and girls’ rights has gone too far because it threatens men’s and boys’ opportunities.

Ms. Off said: “The results show that young men aged 18 to 29 most often agree with this statement in our survey.

“The older the men are, the less they agree with this statement. Some women agree with the statement, but to a far lesser extent than men of all ages.

“The results contradict previous research claiming that the older generation are are the most conservative and opposed to advances in women’s rights.”

Slovakia is the EU country in the study where the highest proportion of young men are opposed to advances in women’s rights. In some regions there, unemployment has risen by as much as 1.1 percent in the last two years.

Professor Nicholas Charron, who also worked on the study, said: “More than other EU citizens, Slovaks think that their own country’s public institutions are not impartial, that is, that their social institutions favor certain groups of people.”

The study also shows the inverse situation. In regions such as northern Italy where unemployment has fallen and where social institutions are perceived as reasonably impartial, young men are less resistant to advances in women’s rights.

Unfair boss giving assistant woman a lot of work at ofiice place.
(Wear it Out via Shutterstock)

In Sweden, the largest proportion of young men who agree with the survey statement that advances in women’s rights threatens men’s and boys’ opportunities live in regions where unemployment has risen in the last two years.

Professor Charron said: “The gap between young women’s and young men’s views on advancing women’s rights is great in Sweden, among the top 10 in the EU according to our measurements.”

The fact that young men stand out in this context may be due to their position in the labor market. At a young age, they may not yet have a stable job, or they may not have progressed as far in their careers as older men.

Ms. Off added: “Possibly, young men who believe that women are out-competing them in the labor market experience advances in women’s rights as unjust and a threat.

“We need to get better at communicating the benefits of gender equality. Fathers get to spend more time with their children and the burden of being the family’s breadwinner is lightened when mothers in families also advance in their careers.”

Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email [email protected] or submit an inquiry via our contact form.

Top Talkers