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What Does Feminism Mean Today? A New Washington Post/Kaiser Survey Explores the Public’s Views

A new Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation survey explores what feminism means in today’s America, providing a detailed look at the complex views that both women and men hold about the word and the social movement that bears its name.

Featured in a series of articles and interactive features online at The Washington Post, the new survey finds almost half of the public, including six in 10 women, identify themselves as either a “strong feminist” or a “feminist,” though many also believe the word has a negative connotation.

The survey also assesses the public’s priorities for improving women’s lives, their views on the relevance of the women’s movement, the role of government in promoting gender equality, their beliefs about discrimination, levels of social and civic engagement, and views on political and policy issues such as equal pay, birth control coverage, and abortion.

Based on women’s responses, the survey’s analysis identifies six categories of women with somewhat different perspectives and experiences: “Hell, yes” feminists, “Okay, sure” feminists, “Yes, but…” feminists, “No, but…” feminists, “Whatever” feminists, and “Certainly not” feminists.  An interactive quiz on the Post’s website allows readers to see which category they fall into based on their views.

This survey is the 29th in a series of surveys over the past 20 years conducted as part of The Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Project. All surveys in the series are designed and analyzed jointly by survey researchers at Kaiser and The Washington Post. Full survey results are available on the Foundation’s website here. The Washington Post articles and features on the survey findings are available at washingtonpost.com.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.