November 15, 2016

Who Run the World? Foreign Policy Attitudes on Women and Girls

by Kelhan Martin, Research Intern

In partnership with the New America Foundation, the 2016 Chicago Council Survey included two questions developed to provide better insight and add to the growing discussion within the policy community about the inclusion of women in the policy process.

Although Hillary Rodham Clinton did not smash the metaphorical glass ceiling, throughout her 2016 presidential campaign she prioritized gender inclusivity—empowering a diversity of perspectives to drive decision-making. Democrats fall in line with her message: a majority (53%) state that promoting the full participation of women and girls in their societies around the world is a very important goal, while only two in ten Republicans (20%) and one in three Independents (33%) say the same. While the divide is not as significant as the partisan gap, women are twelve percentage points more likely than men to name it a very important goal (43% female; 31% male). 

Similarly, the results shows that while both Democrats (96%) and Republicans (81%) say promoting the rights of women and girls around the world is either very or somewhat important, Democrats are far more likely to say it is a very important goal (56%) than Republicans (29%) or Independents (40%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, women are thirteen more percentage points likely than men to name the promotion of women’s rights as a very important foreign policy goal (48% female; 35% male). 


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.


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