Americans find their female role models close to home

Elise CzajkowskiEditor, YouGov US
February 26, 2018, 3:00 PM GMT+0

47% of Americans look up to a woman in their own life

Women may be becoming more visible – and more vocal – in all walks of life, but their influence is still mostly felt close to home. Across all ages, regions, races, incomes, and education levels, new data from YouGov Omnibus shows that the most common place for people to have female role model is in their personal life and/or family. 

With International Women's Day approaching on March 8, men and women from around the world were asked whether they have male or female role models in 11 categories – politics, sports, entertainment/arts, business, science/tech, personal life/family, activism, education, military/law enforcement, medicine, and social media. 

In the US, 47% of people have a female role model in their personal life and/or family. The next most common areas to find one are entertainment and arts, where 35% of Americans find a female role model, and education (31%).

The most popular category for a male role model is politics, with 40% of Americans looking up to a man in this field. The next most popular are personal life/family (39%) and military/law enforcement (34%)

In most areas, men are more likely to have male role models and women are more likely to have female role models. Men are more likely to say they have a male role model in any of these areas than a female role model (73% to 66%). Women have less of a gap: 72% of women say they have a female role model, and 68% say they have a male role model.

Men aged 55 and older are least likely to say they have a female role model in any of these areas, with 41% saying they have none, while only 24% say they have no male role models. Women between the ages of 25 and 34 are least likely to have a male role model, with 42% of no male role models in these areas, while 36% say they have no female role models. 

Around the world, personal life and family is the most frequent place for people to find a female role model. The only market where this is not true is Vietnam, where 42% of people find a female role model in the entertainment and arts, while 40% have one in their personal lives.

Male role models vary more around the world vary. Of the 12 markets surveyed, male role models are most commonly found in sports in seven – the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Sweden (tied with personal life), Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. Other most popular male role models are found in science and technology (Germany and Hong Kong) and business (India and Vietnam). The US is the only place where most people found their male role models in politics. 

For both male and female role models, India and Thailand are the markets most likely to have role models in these areas, while Denmark and the UK are the least likely. 

Image: Getty 

Read more results from this poll here