Louisianans See Significant Gender Discrimination Against Women, Fourth Report from Louisiana Survey Shows

April 6, 2018

Baton Rouge, LA – The fourth of six reports from the 2018 Louisiana Survey, a project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School for Mass Communication, reveals that a majority of Louisiana residents believe that both gender discrimination and sexual harassment are major issues and that the country needs to make further changes to give men and women equality in the workplace.

Overall, 70 percent of Louisiana residents say women face “a lot” or “some” gender discrimination, up from 63 percent last year. Further, 61 percent of residents say women face significant obstacles that make it harder for them to get ahead, up from 58 percent a year ago.

“These results underscore that people in Louisiana see gender discrimination as a very real issue in our state and feel like there is much work to be done in that arena,” said Dr. Michael Henderson, director of the Public Policy Research Lab, which conducted the survey.

Additional results of the survey include:

  • The share of Republicans who believe women face gender discrimination rose from 42 percent to 52 percent since last year. The shift was even larger among Republican women (+16) than Republican men (+11), although those views hardly budge for Democrats, nearly all of whom already believed women face discrimination.
  • Three fourths of Louisiana residents believe the country needs to make further changes to give men and women equality in the workplace, comparable to 71 percent who said so a year ago. There was significant growth in the shares of Democratic men (+7) and Republican men (+11) who believe further change is necessary. Opinion did not shift among Democratic women, 95 percent of whom say further change is necessary, but they had already reached near unanimity a year ago. Among Republican women, the share who say further changes are necessary declined by seven points since 2017.
  • Overall, 61 percent of Louisiana residents say women still face significant obstacles that make it harder for them to get ahead than men. A year ago, the share was 58 percent. The increase among women who believe women face obstacles was largely concentrated to Democratic women, among whom the share rose from 80 percent to 88 percent.
  • Two-thirds of state residents say that recent allegations of sexual harassment and assault against prominent men in entertainment, politics and the media mainly reflect widespread problems in society rather than isolated incidents of individual misconduct. There is a larger difference between Democrats and Republicans than between men and women on this question.
  • Nearly three-fourths of Louisiana residents (72 percent) say elected officials who are accused of sexual harassment or assault by multiple people should resign rather than stay in office. The share is moderately higher among women (76 percent) than men (68 percent) and much higher among Democrats (90 percent) than Republicans (62 percent).

With the conversation across the country – and in Louisiana – increasingly turning more toward gender discrimination and sexual harassment, The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs is convening media, government and law experts to discuss the role of these industries in building the sexual harassment structure and how they can serve as instruments of change. “Hear them Roar: Voicing the Truth on Sexual Harassment in Media and Politics.” Senator Mary Landrieu will make opening remarks and moderate the panel discussion April 12 highlighting the role of power, money, media and politics in both the #MeToo movement and in all-too-common stories of sexual harassment. Find more information about this free event here.

The Louisiana Survey has been conducted each year since 2003 and twice in 2006, establishing rich longitudinal measures of public opinion in Louisiana. The mission of the Louisiana Survey is to establish benchmarks as well as to capture change in residents’ assessments of state government services. The survey is further dedicated to tracking public opinion on the contemporary policy issues that face the state. Each iteration of the Louisiana Survey contains core items designed to serve as barometers of public sentiment, including assessments of whether the state is heading in the right direction or wrong direction, perceptions about the most important problems facing the state, as well as evaluations of public revenue sources and spending priorities.

The survey is a project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, an integral part of the Manship School of Mass Communication. The Reilly Center’s mission is to generate thoughtful programs, dialogue and research about mass communication and its many faceted relationships with social, economic and political issues.

Read the full fourth report from the Louisiana Survey. View an archive of past Louisiana Surveys and results.

For more information or to schedule an interview with the report’s author, contact smalin@lsu.edu.