FDU study finds ‘sexism isn’t dead’ — which remains problematic for businesses, workers

By Meg Fry
Madison | Dec 16, 2019 at 1:07 pm

Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison released Monday the results of a survey measuring the extent to which New Jersey residents endorse and make decisions based upon sexist beliefs, which can be extremely detrimental to both female employees and the companies hiring (or not hiring) them.

“Sexism isn’t dead,” Dan Cassino, a professor of politics and government at FDU, said.

  • When asked if “most women interpret innocent remarks or actions as being sexist,” 37% of more than 800 adult New Jersey respondents agreed when surveyed by telephone;
  • When asked if “most women fail to appreciate fully all that men do for them,” 33% agreed;
  • And when asked if “most women seek to gain power by getting control over men,” 29% agreed.

“At least most people in New Jersey reject this sort of antiquated thinking about gender and women’s tendency to scheme and exploit men,” Cassino said.

Still, 42% of respondents said that “women are too easily offended,” while 49% said that “most women believe men don’t really care about equality.”

Percentages also drastically changed according to the following scale:

Nonwhite, college-educated New Jersey residents younger than age 35 were the least likely to be sexist — but, as these factors were reversed, the levels of sexism increased.

The biggest differences could be seen between Democrats and Republicans. For example, while 28% of Democrats believe that “women are too easily offended,” 64% of Republicans do; and, while 25% of Democrats agree that “most women fail to appreciate fully all that men do for them,” 45% of Republicans do.

“Views about gender and sexism have become almost inextricable from politics,” Cassino said.

While 50% of New Jersey voters support the impeachment of President Donald Trump, that figure jumps to 66% among those with low sexism scores, compared with 40% among those with high sexism scores.

“As a result, people who endorse sexist views are much more likely to support (this) president,” Cassino said.

Contact Cassino at dcassino@fdu.edu for more information on the survey.