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This New Study Shows There Are Tons Of Feminists Around The World

In 23 countries, a majority of women are claiming the often-contested label. But not everything is so rosy.

Posted on March 8, 2017, at 6:48 a.m. ET

It's International Women's Day, so let's start with the good news: People really like the idea of gender equality.

Chelsea Guglielmino / Getty Images

We know that from science — or, more specifically, because the polling firm Ipsos just released results from a 24-country survey, with nearly 18,000 respondents, on what people think about feminism and gender equality.

Here's the bad news: The results suggest that the idea "is making more progress around the world than the reality," an Ipsos spokesperson said.

If you want to nerd out on their science stuff, you can read the study's methodology.

1. A majority of women describe themselves as feminists — except in Germany and Russia.

Adam Berry / Getty Images

Nearly 85% of Indians agreed that they're feminists, which Ipsos defined as "someone who advocates and supports equal opportunities for women." Of Americans, 61% claim the label. The lowest number of feminists apparently live in Germany, where only 37% agreed they were feminists. (Russia was in close pursuit of last place, with 39% of people saying they're feminists.)

2. Actually, Russia thinks its women have it pretty good.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

In Russia, which decriminalized domestic violence earlier this year, 88% of women say they have the equality and freedom they need to reach their dreams. And 58% of Russians don't believe there's any equality between men and women in their country — which is kind of strange, because nearly half of all Russians agreed that men are more capable than women.

3. Where do women feel most unequal? Spain.

Paul White / AP

Nearly 3 in 4 Spanish women said they didn't feel they had full equality to men, or the freedom to reach their full dreams and aspirations. That's higher than every other country, including Russia, China, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea — countries that don't come out super rosy when you look at the other statistics. Still, Spanish women feel the worst off when it comes to equality.

4. Half of all people surveyed in India said they feel scared to speak up for women's rights.

Chandan Khanna / AFP / Getty Images

That's especially shocking because there's been been a surge in local activism, and government projects, to counter gender violence that has been put in place since a gang rape took place in New Delhi in 2012, drawing international attention.

5. In 12 of the 24 countries Ipsos surveyed, more men said they take action on women's rights than women did.

Jason Connolly / AFP / Getty Images

That includes respondents in China, South Africa, and the US. In fact, the US had the widest gap between men and women on this: Over 70% of men said they stand up for women's rights, while around 55% of women said they did.

The only other country with a similar gap was Poland — but the gap cut the other way. In Poland, where anti-abortion protests brought the country to a halt last year, nearly 90% of women said they speak out on women's rights, and about 70% of men said they did.

6. It's men who want women to stay home, not women themselves.

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

Men are more likely than women to think women should stay home (shocker) — but this gap is especially apparent in Turkey, South Korea...and the US, where nearly 1 in 4 men said they agree that "women should not aspire to do anything outside of the household and should produce children and tend to the family."

7. In India and Russia, nearly half of all respondents think women are inferior to men.

Globally, nearly 1 in 5 people think the same thing — which kind of means you have a 20% chance of sitting next to a misogynist in any place on earth.

Also, nearly half of all respondents in China, India, and Russia think men are more capable than women — another, different way of saying men are superior, because we needed more of those.

8. Surprise ending! In nearly every country, men are more likely to believe in their superior capabilities than women are.


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.