AP-NORC/National Women’s History Museum Poll: Widespread Public Recognition of Progress on Gender Equality in the 50 Years Since the Passage of Title IX, Especially in Education and Employment

For Immediate Release
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Contacts: For more information, contact either Jeannette O’Connor, [email protected]; or Eric Young for NORC at [email protected]; or Nicole Meir for AP at [email protected].

CHICAGO, June, 15 2022 – Fifty years after the passage of Title IX prohibited high schools and colleges from discriminating on the basis of gender, 9 in 10 Americans believe there has been at least some progress in providing equal treatment for women, according to a new study from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the National Women’s History Museum.

Forty-nine percent of Americans say a great deal or a lot of progress has been made in achieving equal treatment for women in the last 50 years, 41% report some progress, and 10% report only a little or no progress at all.

The public, however, is less optimistic about the pace of progress in some areas. While nearly half of Americans see a lot of progress in achieving equal treatment for women in education and employment, fewer say the same about protections from sexual assault, gender discrimination, and gender-based violence.

Men see more progress towards achieving equal treatment for women, with 61% saying a great deal or a lot of progress has been made compared with just 37% of women who feel the same.

Men are also consistently more likely than women to report progress towards equal treatment of women when it comes to areas such as education (58% vs. 38%), sports (51% vs. 31%), and protections against violence (40% vs. 17%). Republicans are more likely than Democrats to perceive more progress in these areas.

More Americans say there has been a great deal of progress made since Title IX toward achieving equality for white women (49%) than for women of color (36%), LGBTQ women (33%), or low-income women (26%).

“The poll shows that while there is strong public consensus that gender equality for women has improved over the past 50 years, there is still a lot of work to be done,” said Dr. Bonnie Morris, a member of the National Women’s History Museum Scholars Advisory Council and a women’s history scholar at UC-Berkeley. “Many Americans believe we are falling short in providing equality for all women, especially in areas such as job discrimination and violence, which Title IX clearly addresses.”

Nearly two-thirds of Americans approve of Title IX, including 77% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans and majorities of both men (62%) and women (63%).

There is broad and bipartisan support when it comes to the key priorities Title IX aims to protect. About 8 in 10 say providing equal opportunities and funding for all students is important or essential for colleges and high schools, and 9 in 10 report the same for protecting all students from sexual harassment and female students from discrimination.

And while Title IX is often known for its protections for women and girls in sport, the public prioritizes many other aspects of the law above athletics.

Despite the public consensus that Title IX’s priorities are important, many Americans remain unsure of its impact. About a third of the public is unsure if Title IX has had an impact on addressing sexual harassment in schools or protecting LGBTQ students from discrimination. A third are not certain if the law affects them personally and nearly as many are unsure of its impact on gender equality in general.

“Title IX is popular with the public, and it is clear that most Americans realize the importance of the equalities it aims to ensure,” said Jennifer Benz, a vice president with The AP-NORC Center. “However, many Americans are still unsure of the connection between the law and its protections.”

About the Study

This survey was conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research with funding from The National Women’s History Museum.

Data were collected using the AmeriSpeak Omnibus®, a monthly multi-client survey using NORC’s probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population. Interviews for this survey were conducted between May 12 and 16, 2022 with adults aged 18 and over representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Panel members were randomly drawn from AmeriSpeak, and 1,001 completed the survey—948 via the web and 53 by telephone. The final stage completion rate is 21.0 percent, the weighted household panel response rate is 19.5 percent, and the weighted household panel retention rate is 77.1 percent, for a cumulative response rate of 3.2 percent. The overall margin of sampling error is +/-4.0 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level, including the design effect. The margin of sampling error may be higher for subgroups.

A full description of the study methodology for the survey can be found at the end of the report at www.apnorc.org.

The proper description of the survey’s authorship is as follows: This study was conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the National Women’s History Museum.


About the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research taps into the power of social science research and the highest-quality journalism to bring key information to people across the nation and throughout the world. www.apnorc.org

The Associated Press (AP) is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. More than half the world’s population sees AP journalism every day.

NORC at the University of Chicago conducts research and analysis that decision-makers can trust. We are an objective, nonpartisan research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world. We have studied almost every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than seven decades. Today, amid an ocean of unverified information, our expertise, objectivity, and scientific rigor are necessary to inform the critical decisions facing society.

The two organizations have established The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research to conduct, analyze, and distribute social science research in the public interest on newsworthy topics, and to use the power of journalism to tell the stories that research reveals. In its 10 years, The AP-NORC Center has conducted more than 250 studies exploring the critical issues facing the public, covering topics like health care, the economy, COVID-19, trust in media, and more.

About the National Women’s History Museum
Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) is an innovative online museum dedicated to uncovering, interpreting, and celebrating women’s diverse contributions to society. A renowned leader in women’s history education, the Museum brings to life the countless untold stories of women throughout history, and serves as a space for all to inspire, experience, collaborate, and amplify women’s impact—past, present, and future. We strive to fundamentally change the way women and girls see their potential and power.

The NWHM fills in major omissions of women in history books and K-12 education, providing scholarly content and educational programming for teachers, students, and parents. We reach more than four million visitors each year through our online content and education programming and, in early 2023, we will mount our first physical exhibit at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington, D.C. The Museum is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and visit us at womenshistory.org.