Feminism '˜not relevant' to children's future

Two out of five parents feel feminism is not relevant to their child's future wellbeing - increasing to almost half of fathers.

Actress Alyssa Milano launched a "Me Too" Twitter hashtag requesting people reply on the social network if they have been victims of sexual assault or harassment.
Actress Alyssa Milano launched a "Me Too" Twitter hashtag requesting people reply on the social network if they have been victims of sexual assault or harassment.

However, despite many parents believing feminism is irrelevant, most still want their children to have strong female role models, according to a poll for International Women’s Day, which is celebrated today.

The survey found that three out of five parents admit they should be doing more at home to educate their children on the issue, while 58 per cent believe schools should do more to educate children and 51 per cent believe it is the role of the Government to reduce gender discrimination.

The Opinium poll, which comes 100 years after millions of women first got the vote in Britain, also found that high profile movements seem to have the greatest influence on the UK’s parents, with 40 per cent of parents believing the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns will have a positive impact on their children’s futures. Three out of five parents also believe their children’s generation will close the gender pay gap.

Despite parents believing hat children need female role models, separate children struggle to name a high profile woman they look up to.

However, there is concern amongst some parents that a move towards gender equality may actually have an adverse impact – with more parents expressing concern that their sons will face gender discrimination in their lifetime rather than their daughters.

Emily Dickinson, director at Opinium Research said: “Feminism remains for many an uncertain and sometimes contentious issue. Despite receiving widespread endorsement, the #TimesUp and #Metoo, movements are not associated by the majority of UK parents with either gender inequality or feminism. This goes to show that awareness is not enough to drive lasting change. More education is needed if we truly want to #pressforprogress and create a more balanced society.”

The #Timesup movement was launched at the beginning of this year by Hollywood celebrities in response to sexual abuse allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. It came after a similar online movement, hashtagged #Metoo, saw women stepping forward to highlight the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

Alys Mumford, spokeswoman for Scottish feminist organisation Engender said: “This research shows just why International Women’s Day is still so relevant today. Despite the majority of parents believing that having strong women role models is important, the connection is not being made between this and the need for women’s equality in all areas of society. We’re not surprised that many struggle to think of high profile women in Scotland, when positions of power and influence in Scotland’s political, cultural and business institutions are overwhelmingly still held by men.

“Feminism is vital to women’s equality, and we are seeing more and more young women identify proudly as feminist. We just hope their parents will catch on soon.”